Abruptly Shutters with Marks and Spencer Acquisition

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UK personalized e-commerce service shuttered suddenly after its intellectual property was acquired by retailer Marks and Spencer. had been one of my essential destinations for British style for men and was one of the best places to shop for clothing online. It was also an amazing alternative to Stitch Fix for personal style recommendations without the hassle.

Co-Founders Kieran O’Neill and Ben Phillips posted a note on Thread’s website explaining that,

One of our biggest partners along the way was M&S, who shared our vision for democratising style. To help bring this to their much larger audience, they have acquired Thread’s brand, technology and data.

Founders O’Neill and Philips have joined Marks and Spencer, which plans to use their technology to beef up their online service.

“The acquisition of Thread is the perfect example of a ‘buy not build’ approach – enabling us to accelerate our personalisation strategy by integrating the market leading tech on M& in under 12 months,” commented Marks and Spencer Co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe.

She added that Thread’s algorithm “will also put more of our great product in front of the customer, whilst further unlocking the potential of our third-party brand strategy, by adding outfit completing product ideas.”

The company believes that the acquisition of this digital native fashion platform will generate more than £100m of annualized incremental revenue.

An Abrupt Exit Leaves Customers and Suppliers Stranded

Thread’s suppliers were reportedly in the dark about its closing until November 30. A Thread supplier told Drapers that “his company is owed tens of thousands of pounds by Thread, adding that “dozens” of others are owed hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The supplier added that, on November 30,”every supplier got the same, very short email” announcing that Marks and Spencer had acquired the brand and their standalone business would cease to operate.

Customers were left to fend for themselves. Guidance on Thread’s website indicated that customers who had ordered (and paid for) items but had not received them yet would have to “recover this amount via your credit/debit card provider by making a Chargeback claim or, if the price of the item(s) you bought is higher than £100, by exercising your rights against your credit card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.”

Photo credit: Thanks to Tim Mossholder for the featured photo via Unsplash.

About Jake

Jake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.

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