Senior apparel analyst at GlobalData Pippa Stephens explained: “Its clothing & home division saw a 6% increase in like-for-like sales, with these ranges now appealing to younger shoppers than they did previously due to better incorporation of fashion trends.”
This was down to the company struggling with declining profits and share prices dropping more than 40% over the past three years.
At the time, Manu Tyagi, associate partner for retail and consumer goods at Infosys Consulting, commented and said the drop reflected “the changing times of the UK high street, as the iconic British high street brand struggles to adapt, respond to, and capture a bigger share of spending among digitally empowered consumers. “
“This development might be good for M&S as it takes away the city’s focus on its performance, and might give it space to recoup, revitalise and reclaim a new identity.”
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Ironically, Tyagi’s words rang true as since then M&S has seen growth in its business. This is evident in the 19 weeks to 12 August when the retailer revised its annual profit forecast upwards due to strong sales in its clothing and home products.
Stephens noted that M&S’s continued efforts to partner with popular third-party brands such as Nobody’s Child and Skechers has “driven greater traction, by drawing in consumers who would not usually consider shopping for M&S’ own-brand ranges.”
M&S took a 25% stake in brand partner Nobody’s Child in November 2021, to become what it called an “exciting investment opportunity”, M&S said it would benefit from the agility of Nobody’s Child, including the brand’s focus on near-sourcing supply, which had previously been identified as a growth opportunity. Following this M&S injected fresh funding into the fashion brand in May to support its continued growth.
M&S added Skechers to its third-party offering in June of this year alongside Crocs and Toms to attract, what Stephens stated at the time, new shoppers and aid its clothing and footwear division recovery.
Regarding the retailer’s launch of third-party footwear brands, Stephens told Just Style it followed a wave of new brands it has launched over the past couple of years, as it strived to become a go-to marketplace for consumers.