Morrisons could look to acquire clothing suppliers in the UK and internationally to support its new clothing brand, Nutmeg.
The move would mirror the vertically integrated sourcing model used in the retailer’s fresh food division to supply clothing to its UK fashion business.
Morrisons this week moved staff into its new headquarters in Coalville, Leicestershire, ahead of the launch of the kidswear brand in 100 stores next March.
Tim Bettley, who took up the newly-created post of commercial director for clothing in March, told Retail Week that Morrisons will launch the brand with established clothing suppliers before exploring vertical integration long-term.
He said: “We may look at owning some factories in the UK and overseas. Initially we are working with established clothing suppliers and that’s how we are launching.”
Bettley said the division would also look to leverage links with Morrisons’ non-food sourcing office in Hong Kong.
Bettley said that Morrisons will also launch an online clothing offer to support sales through stores and its sister retailer Kiddicare. He said: “We are looking at online now, it will launch at the end of next year or the start of the next. We’ll also have click and collect to take advantage of our stores.”
Bettley joined the retailer from Peacocks where he was managing director. He has since raided retailers including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco and Next for talent and is looking to build his team of 30 up to 50.
Morrisons is looking to differentiate its offer from its rivals George at Asda, TU by Sainsbury’s and F&F by Tesco. It will initially sell children’s clothing before branching into adults.
Bettley said: “We do not just want to do the same as the others, we want to make a real impact. In other supermarkets the clothing is off at the side but our product range will be in the main aisles and will capture all of our customers.”
The Nutmeg brand will enter all of the retailer’s Fresh Format stores next March and its roll-out will be “at the same pace or a little faster” than the roll-out of the format, Bettley said.