M&S expands shoe brands offer as it targets major footwear growth
M&S is making a big play for British consumers’ footwear spend and is adding more third-party footwear labels to its Brands At M&S offer. It means 200 more styles are now available to shop on the retailer’s webstore and the wider Brands At platform “continues to grow at pace and is now home to over 60 third-party brand partners”.
As of 2 June, Skechers, Crocs and TOMS have joined the external labels available via M&S with the retailer saying that “the US footwear brands join at a time when each are delivering strong performance independently, with all reporting double-digit revenue growth”.
Other third-party footwear brads it carries include Asics, Hoff, Hoka and Veja and such brands now represent 16% of total footwear page visits.
The company has also been boosting its own-brand chances in the footwear sector having last year named Annie Dore, former Head of Buying at New Look, to the new role of Business Lead for Footwear and Accessories.
This was clearly a good move as “over the last quarter, searches for footwear on M&S.com have grown by 21%” year on year. Growth has largely been driven by casual trainers, with it trebling its market share here.
Looking at the new brands it has added, it has focused on names that UK consumers will already know. Skechers, which advertises heavily on British TV, has grown its footprint to become the third-largest footwear brand in the UK, behind Adidas and Nike.
Meanwhile Crocs has seen surging sales post-Covid and is one of the world’s top 10 largest non-athletic footwear brands.
Importantly too, the retailer said that the new brands it’s adding “bring together comfort, style and brand credibility".
The overall footwear market is a £14 billion one in the UK with growth projected of almost 4% a year between now and 2027. M&S clearly wants to be a major part of that growth.
It said that “with brands dominating the market — taking 76% in menswear and 45% in womenswear – [it’s] utilising the strength of its nascent ‘Brands at M&S’ platform to carefully curate third-party partners to grow market share”.
And it’s interesting that it has made its move as the summer season gets under way.
The retailer sees peak footwear sales in the AW season with strong performance in boots and loafers. But it “currently under-indexes” in summer season footwear, including sandals.
It believes the addition of the new brands’ trainers, espadrilles, everyday sandals, and flip-flops for all ages (including kids as it targets growth outside of back-to-school) will have a big impact.
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