Marks & Spencer has bought into activewear platform The Sports Edit as it builds its digital operations and strengthens its presence in the fast-growing category.

Female model wearing The Sports Edit sportswear

Marks & Spencer has made a strategic investment in The Sports Edit

The Sports Edit caught the eye of Marks & Spencer because of its “complementary ecommerce platform” of big-name and emerging brands, engaged customer base, strengths in identifying up-and-coming brands and curation skills.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but will eventually give M&S 100% ownership of the business. M&S will support The Sports Edit’s growth through access to its infrastructure and expertise.

M&S is making a push on activewear, sales of which grew rapidly during the pandemic to create a market already worth about £900m.

M&S’s own activewear brand, Goodmove, became its biggest in-house womenswear brand over the same period.

As it builds its omnichannel prowess following the launch of the MS2 digital division, M&S has begun to sell selected third-party brands for the first time. It also took a minority stake in Nobody’s Child and acquired the Jaeger label as part of its brand strategy.

The Sports Edit was founded in 2015 by Nick Paulson-Ellis, who will continue to run it.

Katie Bickerstaffe

M&S chief operating officer Katie Bickerstaffe: “Investing in digital and growing brands is an important way to explore growth categories”

M&S chief operating officer Katie Bickerstaffe 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.”

Paulson-Ellis said: “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.”

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