Premium fashion and lifestyle brand Joules recorded online sales up 66% over the festive trading period as COVID-19 restrictions severely hampered store sales.
The business said its own website and its online marketplace “Friends of Joules” had enjoyed strong sales during the seven-week period to 3 January 2021, but its store sales had been down 58% due to COVID-19 tiered restrictions in place at the time.
During the periods that stores were able to trade, revenue was 23% lower when compared to the corresponding prior year periods, reflecting lower overall footfall trends, in particular over the last two weeks of the period, Joules said.
Total retail revenue through Joules’ own-branded retail channels during the Period was up by 0.3% against the prior year, with the growth in Joules e-commerce sales more than offsetting the decline from stores.
In further positive news Joules said it had grown its customer base with over 1.5m active customers at the end of the period. At 3 January 2021, the group had net cash of £13m and total liquidity headroom of £63m.
Looking forward and assuming the current set of restrictions continue to 1 April, the potential loss in group revenues resulting from the closure of its stores, the cancellation of country shows and disruption to wholesale partners is estimated to be in the range of £14m to £18m.
Joules CEO Nick Jones commented: “We are pleased with the continued strong performance delivered across our digital channels during the Christmas trading period and are encouraged by the increasing customer awareness of, and demand for, the Joules brand. This has been supported by our Friends of Joules digital marketplace which added a great range of products and gifting options for customers throughout the Christmas trading period.
“Whilst the latest round of restrictions on store retail across the UK present a further challenge for the retail sector as we enter 2021, we remain very confident that Joules, as a highly relevant, digital-led brand with an engaged and growing customer base and healthy balance sheet, is well positioned to navigate these challenges. As a result, we remain as excited as ever by our long-term growth prospects.”