Interim sales and profits leap at Joules
Fashion and lifestyle brand Joules has revealed an 18.2% increase in revenue and a 24.3% increase in underlying profit in the six months to 26 November 2017.
In the 26-week period the business, which produces quintessentially British fashion and lifestyle products for men, women and children, achieved group revenue of £96.2m (2016: £81.4m), while underlying profit before tax was £9.3m (2016: £7.5m). EBITDA was up 22.5% at £13.3m.
Chief executive Colin Porter said the growth was driven by strong performances across all channels. Retail sales increased by 16.2% with e-commerce sales up 19.7% and store sales up 14.2%. Wholesale too was up by 23%. International sales were up 26.4% and now represent 11.3% of group revenue.
While the numbers don't take in the all-important immediate run-up to Christmas the business confirmed it had a strong festive season with retail sales up 19.2% year-on-year in the seven weeks to 7 January 2018.
"The Joules brand has continued to perform very well, delivering growth in customer numbers and further expansion across channels, product categories and target markets. The creativity, energy and ability of our entire team remains critical to driving the business forward. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues across the world for their outstanding efforts throughout the Period," Porter said.
"Joules' brand, with its distinct heritage and values, underpins the group's exciting growth potential as we continue to develop as a British lifestyle brand with broad international appeal. Whilst trading conditions look set to remain challenging across the sector, with our differentiated brand, unique product offer, loyal and growing customer base, exceptional team and well-invested infrastructure, Joules is well positioned for continued progress and expansion," he added.
Fiona Cincotta, senior analyst at www.cityindex.co.uk, said Joules was "looking very smart indeed" along with other brands which are well managed and offer a distinct product, such as Ted Baker and Fat Face.
"Margins are expanding in tune with rising revenue across all of its business segments and the balance sheet is strong. Just like Ted Baker and Fat Face, this well-managed company is showing that there's plenty of life left on the High Street," she said.
"It's deftly navigating tough market conditions with a clear and unique branding position, restrained approach to discounting and measured store roll-out strategy," she added.
The strong performance led Joules to announce that it now expected full year profits to be "slightly higher" than analysts' expectations, to which Cincotta responded: "Joules shares, however, are trading at deservedly high multiples, perhaps rendering today's profit upgrade a little too modest for some."