According to a report by the Sunday Times, Sainsbury’s plans to boost its fashion offerings by partnering with third-party brands to sell online and in-store. The supermarket giant aims to create an online marketplace similar to those operated by M&S, Next, and John Lewis. By collaborating with third-party labels, Sainsbury’s could potentially take advantage of John Lewis’s current challenges and increase competition for the retailer. The company is reportedly in talks with clothing brands like Jigsaw, White Stuff, and Yours Clothing regarding this concept.

Sainsbury’s larger stores, some of which have more space allocated to its existing Tu clothing brand than many mono-brand clothing stores, can comfortably accommodate fashion. Given the growing importance of clothing sales for supermarkets and Sainsbury’s significant presence in the UK clothing market, it is not surprising that the company is expanding into third-party fashion. The fact that Sainsbury’s non-food operation is led by former John Lewis executive Paula Nickolds further strengthens this initiative. Christine Kasoulis, another former John Lewis senior manager, has been serving as Sainsbury’s director of clothing, home, and furniture since last year.

Other major retailers have also recognized the potential profitability of selling third-party brands and have adopted this strategy. Next, for example, has become a prominent player in this space, offering hundreds of such brands on its marketplace. M&S, on the other hand, has taken a more curated approach to the brands it sells but acknowledges the increasing importance of this area to its business. These developments could leave John Lewis vulnerable as it tries to revamp its operations. Moreover, John Lewis’s high commission rates (reportedly at least 40%) make lower rates offered elsewhere more appealing to brands. Sainsbury’s has already secured deals to sell FatFace and Sosandar online and in-store and has recently launched two exclusive own brands, Everbelle and For All The Love.

Although some brands may have reservations about selling in a supermarket, Sainsbury’s larger stores stand out from traditional supermarket fashion aisles due to their modern and spacious design. Sainsbury’s has not officially commented on the report, and announcements regarding signed brands are expected in the future.

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Sainsbury’s in talks to launch marketplace for third-party fashion brands: report
Sainsbury’s Eyes Online Marketplace to Boost Fashion Sales