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M&S announces “strategic investment” in activewear platform The Sports Edit

Tom Bottomley
08 March 2022

Marks and Spencer has today announced a new strategic investment in fast-growing men’s and women’s activewear brand platform The Sports Edit, and the terms of the deal mean M&S will eventually own 100% of the brand.

The Sports Edit was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Nick Paulson-Ellis, who has grown the business by concentrating on bespoke brand curation across activewear, offering an extensive range of carefully selected popular customer favourites as well as emerging boutique brands, with a focus on premium sportswear, athleisure and yoga and running. Brands include Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Castore, Reigning Champ, Spiritual Gangster, Teeki and The Upside.

Paulson-Ellis will continue to run the company independently as CEO and will be supported to grow by M&S’s investment and access to infrastructure and capabilities.

Investing in The Sports Edit is a continuation of M&S’s strategic focus on activewear - a market which is now worth almost £900m - after seeing 35% growth over the last two years with its own Goodmove activewear brand, which has grown to be the biggest in-house womenswear brand at M&S.

M&S has identified The Sports Edit as a complementary ecommerce platform well positioned in the growing activewear market, in part due to its highly engaged customer base.

The Sports Edit has a proven capability in brand curation and emerging brand identification, both of which will provide valuable learning opportunities for M&S as it further grows the ‘Brands at M&S’ platform.

Katie Bickerstaffe, COO at M&S, said: “Developing the ‘Brands at M&S’ platform is just one example of how we’re shaping the future of M&S. Investing in digital and growing brands is an important way to explore growth categories and ultimately build our offer so we’re relevant for our broad customer base in the future. Nick has created a brilliant activewear business and will continue to operate The Sports Edit independently supported by this investment to scale and grow.”

Nick Paulson-Ellis, CEO and Founder at The Sports Edit, added: “We are extremely excited to be working alongside M&S, and I strongly believe that with their support and resources we can accelerate the development of our exciting customer proposition, alongside the launch of our own brand activewear offering. Together we will build a highly differentiated proposition in activewear, and do so at scale.”

As part of its brands strategy, M&S is utilising a range of models including wholesale agreements, exclusive collaborations and investments, including the minority stake in Nobody’s Child, and seed funding for small brands via the True Fund. The brands strategy also includes selected acquisitions such as Jaeger, and now The Sports Edit.

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