Today (2 June), M&S announced the addition of three global footwear brands, Skechers, Crocs, and Toms to its online platform, ‘Brands at M&S.’

M&S says the three new additions are delivering a strong performance independently and are reporting double-digit revenue growth.

Plus, M&S explains Skechers has emerged as the third-largest footwear brand in the UK, trailing only behind Adidas and Nike, while Crocs, known for its iconic foam clogs, has cemented its position as one of the world’s top ten non-athletic footwear brands.

GlobalData apparel analyst Pippa Stephens tells Just Style exclusively M&S’ launch of third-party footwear brands like Skechers and Crocs, follows a wave of new brands it has launched over the past couple of years, as it strives to become a go-to marketplace for consumers.

She highlights this move is allowing it to attract new shoppers, who may not have formerly been interested in M&S’ own-brand lines and suggests the move could help towards the recovery of its clothing & footwear division.

Seizing a growth opportunity

M&S notes the UK footwear market is valued at over £14bn ($17bn) and is projected to grow annually by 3.92% between 2023 and 2027. The retailer sees footwear as a key growth opportunity as it continues to establish itself as a leading omnichannel retailer.

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By GlobalData

With brands commanding 76% of the menswear market and 45% of the womenswear market, M&S says it is leveraging its nascent ‘Brands at M&S’ platform to strategically curate third-party brand partnerships and capture a larger market share in footwear.

M&S admits that it currently underperforms in seasonal footwear, including sandals. By introducing Skechers, Crocs, and Toms, it hopes to bridge the gaps in its footwear collection with a wide range of trainers, espadrilles, everyday sandals, and flip-flops for all age groups, including kids.

This move aligns with M&S’ goal to expand its market share in children’s daywear, complementing its existing position as a specialist in school shoes through its partnership with Clarks Kids.

The three brands will collectively bring 200 styles to the M&S online platform.

Notably, it reveals that brands now account for 16% of total footwear page visits, which suggests the growing popularity of its expanded range.

Strengthening M&S’ core footwear offer

In addition to introducing new branded options, M&S has been reinforcing its own brand footwear selection, which it says attracts over three million customers annually.

Last year, the retailer appointed Annie Dore, former head of buying at New Look, as business lead for footwear and accessories, to revitalise and reshape these categories with a focus on contemporary, versatile, and accessible styles.

During the last quarter, searches for footwear on the M&S website grew by 21% compared to the same period, predominantly driven by casual trainers.

Richard Price, managing director of clothing & home at M&S, expressed confidence in the company’s footwear strategy, stating: “At M&S, our footwear performance is at its strongest during the autumn-winter – customers come to us because they know they can trust in the value, style and quality of our range – from leather boots to loafers.

“Through our ‘Brands at M&S’ platform, we are building a carefully curated offer of third-party partners which enhance customers’ shopping experience and increase our style credentials. With the arrival of three global brands in the leisure footwear category, together with a refreshed and reshaped own-brand offer – we’re confident that we have a compelling footwear offer to win during the summer months too.”

Clothing & Home at M&S saw a record jump in sales growth of 11.5% to £3.72bn in its recent full year results.