Joules collapses into administration
Around 1,600 jobs are now under threat after fashion retailer Joules collapsed into administration today.
Earlier this week, Joules said talks over an emergency cash-call with investors, including its founder Tom Joule, were unsuccessful and had ended.
The retailer has now appointed Will Wright, Ryan Grant and Chris Pole of advisory firm Interpath Limited as joint administrators to the company and Joules Limited.
Wright and Grant have also been appointed as administrators to The Garden Trading Company Limited, the garden retailer Joules bought in February 2021, and Joules Developments Limited.
The Leicestershire-based chain employs around 1,600 staff and has over 130 shops. Administrators confirmed shops and concessions will remain open and online orders will be delivered.
It added that valid gift cards can still be redeemed, but customers will no longer be able to buy new gift cards. Customers will also be able to exchange items in stores but will no longer offer refunds.
Will Wright said: “Joules is one of the most recognisable names on the high street, with a unique brand identity and loyal customer base.
“Over the coming weeks, we will endeavour to continue to operate all stores as a going concern during this vitally important Christmas trading period while we assess options for the group, including a possible sale.
“Since the group’s announcement on Monday, we have had an overwhelming amount of interest from interested parties. We will be working hard over the days ahead to assess this interest, but at this stage we are optimistic that we will be able to secure a future for this great British brand.”
Joules is the latest retailer to hit the buffers after online furniture business Made.com collapsed last week, with rival Next buying up its brand, websites and intellectual property.
The deal led to 320 redundancies at Made, while a further 79 employees who had already resigned and were working out their notice were forced to leave the business immediately.
Next had also been in talks with Joules over a deal to buy a minority stake in the business, but discussions between the two collapsed in September.
Joules then revealed it was in talks over a so-called cornerstone equity raise with strategic investors including Joule, who recently returned to the business in an executive position as Product Director.
It was also holding discussions with Joule and its lender over a possible bridge financing deal to allow the funding talks to continue, but failed to secure the crucial strategic investment needed.
The business has suffered a slump in shares over the past year following profit warnings amid soaring costs and a downturn in consumer spending.