M&S’s investment in Nobody’s Child comes a little over a year after the retailer chose it as the first third-party clothing brand to be sold on its website.

Nobody’s Child will continue to operate independently but with the opportunity to use M&S’s investment and infrastructure to scale the business.

In addition to being what it calls an “exciting investment opportunity”, M&S says it will benefit from the agility of Nobody’s Child, including the brand’s focus on near-sourcing supply, which has previously been identified as a growth opportunity.

It adds as the partnership evolves there will be further opportunity for collaboration between the brands, including developing fashion and design talent and sustainability initiatives, for example, both brands have recently launched on rental platform Hire Street.

Nobody’s Child and brands at M&S strategy

The investment is part of the Brands at M&S strategy which uses different models including wholesale agreements, exclusive collaborations, strategic acquisitions and investments.

Brands at M&S initially launched for M&S’s 22m clothing and home customers in spring as part of the retailer’s plan under its MS2 division to curate a platform of brands that are relevant for its consumers and encourages them to shop more frequently online.

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The UK fashion, food and homewares retailer said in May 2020 it would accelerate a number of changes within the business after taking a 75% sales hit on clothing sales during the coronavirus lockdown – with plans to bring in third-party clothing brands, and introduce a faster, near-sourcing supply chain.

Under its ‘Never the Same Again’ agenda, M&S said guest brands will be introduced online and in larger stores in a bid to broaden appeal and grow online sales.

Albaray, Celtic & Co, Craghoppers, FatFace, Frugi, and Jones Bootmaker became the latest to join M&S’s third-party brand roster in August.

The emerging platform strategy is said to have produced encouraging results – M&S now trades with over 30 partners from Sloggi lingerie and Ghost dresses to Clarks school shoes. M&S is also investing in smaller retailers via the True fund.
Specifically, Nobody’s Child has been popular on M&S.com since its launch last September and continues to drive traffic as the most visited guest brand. The most popular product type with M&S customers has been the range of midi dresses, to date dresses have been in 12% of Nobody’s Child orders on M&S.com.
“We’re shaping the future of M&S clothing – the strength of our own-brand product, our broad customer base and the reach of M&S.com makes us an attractive platform partner. In turn, introducing brands helps us become more relevant, more often for our 22m customers – offering them a convenient and seamless shopping experience,” Richard Price, managing director of M&S clothing and home says.
“Nobody’s Child was the first brand to launch on M&S.com and has proved incredibly popular with new and existing M&S customers. We will continue to collaboratively develop the offer on our site, whilst now supporting the brand to grow independently as part of the M&S Family.”

Jody Plows, CEO of Nobody’s Child adds: “We are proud of the growth over the last year and particularly our M&S partnership. Nobody’s Child is an independent brand, with a passionate team committed to delivering easy-to-wear pieces from sustainable fabrics at affordable prices. This remains the driving force behind everything we do. We are delighted this also resonates with the M&S customer and feel Nobody’s Child is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of a wider audience. We are excited to be launching in M&S stores next year.”

Nobody’s Child continues to be sold on M&S.com with new launches every month and growth planned for spring 2022, including the launch of the range in selected M&S stores.