BRANDS AT M&S: AFTER A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE PARTNERSHIP, AN EARLY LEARNING CENTER WILL OPEN IN 10 M&S STORES

  • ‘Brands at M&S’ continues to gain momentum – in-store trial follows successful online partnership with Early Learning Center on M&S.com over the past year

  • Located in 10 M&S Destination Stores, the stores will provide a fun shopping experience for kids with interactive play tables

Today, M&S announces the arrival of Early Learning Center ‘shop in shops’ in ten locations, providing a dedicated UK in-store presence* for the award-winning specialist in early childhood toys.

Open at the end of March, customers will be able to visit the early learning center in M&S stores across the UK, including Kent, Longbridge and Liverpool. The openings come just in time for Easter, the second biggest peak in the retail calendar, where last year Britons spent £1.2billion**.

The new dedicated areas will store the Early Learning Centre’s best-selling toys designed to support children’s learning and development. They will also house interactive game tables, with Happyland products and free activity sheets for the enjoyment of children.

Brands at M&S

The partnership with Early Learning Center is part of the “Brands at M&S” strategy which offers customers access to a group of carefully selected brands and all the advantages of shopping with the M&S platform. The curation of the brand, which is mainly online, is a mix of complementary products and areas that M&S ​​does not have an extensive range of own brands – such as toys.

This in-store trial follows the launch of Early Learning Center on M&S.com at the end of 2020, where the product offer proved to be popular. The brands’ average online shopping cart size is more than double the M&S.com average and to date over 65% of orders for an Early Learning product include M&S Clothing.

Attract family buyers

Early Learning Center is one of the many brands that have been purchased on the M&S platform to appeal to parents, with a complementary and practical offer. These brands, which include Clarks and Smiggle children’s shoes, support M&S’ focus on children’s clothing, where the team has made a strategic shift from ‘special occasion’ clothing to style and value. everyday. Last year, 1 in 4 M&S customers bought children’s clothing – an area in which M&S is increasing its market share. As part of providing a seamless shopping experience for families, M&S has also introduced a number of family favorite initiatives such as Kids Eat Free in Half Term in its cafes.

Neil Harrison, Director of Brands at M&S, said: “Customer response to the Early Learning Center on M&S.com over the past year has been overwhelmingly positive. We know that a large portion of our customers are looking to purchase children’s clothing and toys for family and friends. So, by bringing the Early Learning Center brand – with fun and interactive experiences – to our stores, we’re able to give our 22 million customers more reasons to shop with us. example of how we are shaping the future of M&S, helping us become more relevant, more often for families. »

Mark Campbell, CEO of The Entertainer, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that we are extending our partnership with M&S into stores, continuing to unite two of the UK’s most loved brands. The compatibility between them is clear and we’re sure M&S customers will be delighted to see Early Learning Center in store.”

Early Learning Center will open in 10 stores across the UK: Bluewater, Stratford, Banbury Gateway, Cheshire Oaks, Lisburn, Thurrock, Metro Centre, Liverpool, Longbridge and Plymouth

The Early Learning Center range will continue to be sold on M&S.com and will be available for next day delivery or Click & Collect at over 700 M&S locations.

– ENDS –

*In March 2019, Early Learning Center was acquired by The Entertainer. Some Early Learning Center products are sold in a small number of The Entertainer stores, however, this is the first time Early Learning Center will have dedicated store areas on the UK High Street since 2020.

**According to Statistica, in 2021, spending on Easter celebrations in the United Kingdom (UK) reached an estimated £1.22 billion, increasing at a rate of 14% compared to 2020. In 2019 , this figure amounted to 877 million British dollars. pound sterling

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Note to Editors:

Brands at M&S ​​Timeline

• September 2020 – First clothing brand goes live on M&S.com – Nobody’s Child (M&S then bought a minority stake in the eco-conscious fashion brand in November 2021)

• November 2020 – Launch of the Early Learning Center on M&S.com

• January 2021 – M&S bought its first brand – Jaeger – for £6m (Jaeger was later relaunched under Fiona Lambert in October 2021)

• March 2021 – Official launch of ‘Brands at M&S’ showcasing several clothing brands including Seasalt, Sloggi and Sosandar.

• June 2021 – Launch of children’s footwear brand Clarks on M&S.com and 8 stores across the UK

• September 2021 – Smiggle retailer of school and leisure essentials launches on M&S.com and in 8 stores across the UK

About the Early Learning Center

Early Learning Center was established in 1974 by John Beale, whose vision was born out of personal frustration – he simply couldn’t find toys inspiring enough for his own children.

In March 2019, Early Learning Center was acquired by The Entertainer with a clear vision; to support parents in their child’s learning and development through play.

They are committed to creating quality products and bringing innovation through new product design, as well as continuing to manufacture the highly regarded and trusted toys we all know and love.

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