M&S [MKS] snaps up stake in fashion favourite Nobody’s Child
14:13, 23 November 2021
Marks & Spencer [MKS] has bought a 25% stake in eco-conscious fashion favourite Nobody’s Child, which specialises in womenswear, in a bid to revive its clothing business.
M&S stressed that Nobody’s Child would continue to operate independently but would benefit from M&S’s investment, future collaborations and the group’s infrastructure to scale the business.
The high street store in turn admitted to being able to benefit from Nobody’s Child’s agility and its near-sourcing supply.
The investment in Nobody’s Child follows the estimated £5m ($6.7) M&S paid to rescue upmarket fashion brand Jaegar after it fell into administration.
A popular purchase
M&S said it would work with Nobody’s Child on developing fashion and design talent. The eco-conscious firm was founded in 2015 and its midi dresses have proved a popular purchase on the M&S website.
Richard Price, MD of M&S Clothing & Home, said: “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 22 million customers – offering them a convenient and seamless shopping experience.
“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.”
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Rental platform expansion?
The group added that the two companies would expand on their sustainability initiatives as both had recently expanded into offering a clothing rental service to consumers.
Renting clothing, instead of buying it, has become popular among eco-savvy consumers who are aware of the textile industry’s impact on the environment. M&S launched its first clothing rental trial earlier this month through leading rental website Hirestreet, which will hire out womenswear from just £13 for four days.
In September, M&S reset its Plan A sustainability programme and announced it would cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025.
Potential private equity interest?
There’s currently speculation that M&S itself could be up for grabs, with US private equity firms potentially taking an interest. M&S’s share price has hit a 2.5-year high as a result.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said on Monday that M&S’s share price had spiked by 3% amid rumours that Apollo Global Management was potentially making a bid.
But Streeter claims it’s not the clothing arm of the business that will be attractive to Apollo. She said: “It’s unlikely to be lingerie sales that have made M&S an attractive prospect, instead it’s food aisles and in particular the tie-up with Ocado that will be the allure. Apollo has flirted with other acquisitions in the UK grocery sector, losing out in its quest for Asda, and then pulling out after making advances for Morrisons.
“Given its thwarted attempts so far, there is growing expectation that the group may make an offer for the company, particularly given that food was such a star performer in the last set of results.”
M&S Group shares were up by 1.39%, trading at 248.90p, in early afternoon London trading.
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