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M&S joins clothing rental revolution through Hirestreet trial

Written by on 16/11/2021

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has made a range of womenswear available to rent ahead of the Christmas party season, as the industry moves to address sustainability concerns around fast fashion.

The retailer said it was leasing dozens of products, including dresses from its X Ghost collaboration, under a trial with Hirestreet.

The platform is operated by the Zoa Group, which M&S has previously invested in through its Founders Factory Joint Venture programme.

It said the collection items, which have selling prices of between £69 and £299, would be available to rent on Hirestreet from £13 for four days.

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July: Why fast fashion is still a climate problem

The initiative comes amid pressure from MPs for retailers and manufacturers to end the era of throwaway fashion.

A report by the Environmental Audit Committee (ECA) into clothing waste and sustainability in 2019 had recommended a charge on each item bought to fund recycling.

It had found that £140m worth of clothes are sent to landfill in the UK each year – the highest sum in Europe.

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M&S made the announcement as it continues to chart a transformation of the business following years of decline for its female fashion offering.

Its latest set of results suggested there was evidence of a turnaround – driven by online sales.

M&S at the Bluewater shopping centre
Image: M&S has found demand for its fashion surging online while store sales are lagging

Commenting on the rental approach, M&S chief operating officer Katie Bickerstaffe said “Clothing rental is a growing market and working with Hirestreet through our Founders Factory joint venture gives us a huge opportunity to learn from the leading start-up in this space, operate in an agile way and better understand what our customers want from rental services.

“As we grow M&S clothing, we want to be more relevant more often and we know customers are increasingly interested in the circular fashion economy.

“Our partnership with Hirestreet means we are putting M&S clothing in front of new customers and our first rental edit doesn’t just showcase the style we have on offer, it also highlights the value and quality of clothing that is made to last.”

 Sky News

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