Joules reports "positive" across all channels in the face of the pandemic
Joules has reported that its performance across all retail channels that have been able to trade within the context of the UK’s lockdown restrictions has been "positive" since it posted its interim results at the end of January.
The British fashion and lifestyle brand said the demand via its digital channel had grown by approximately 50% in the year to date, up from the 47% growth reported for the first half of the financial year. Its Friends of Joules digital lifestyle marketplace of third-party brands, had also "continued its strong growth momentum".
Stores have performed ahead of management’s expectations since re-opening following the third national lockdown, which began in England on 12 April, with sales for the four weeks since reopening ahead of the comparable period two years ago.
As a result of the positive performance, the group said its revenue and profit before tax for FY21 would be ahead of current analyst consensus expectations for the coming financial year, which are for revenue of £187 million and profit before tax and pre-exceptional items of £4.1 million
Since the group’s interim results, Joules has opened new locations in North Berwick and Centre Parcs Woburn and Longleat – the first of five Centre Parcs locations due to open over the coming months - and relocated two stores to "brand-enhancing locations" in Beverley and Cirencester.
In February Joules acquired lifestyle business Garden Trading Company and said that the initial contribution had been "encouraging" with sales up 85% against the comparable prior year period.
Last week Joules revealed that it had extended its £25 million revolving credit facility with Barclays Bank to September 2024 and converted the facility to an ESG-linked (Environmental, Social and Governance) financing arrangement.
Joules CEO Nick Jones commented: “We are delighted with the Group’s continued momentum, which reflects the strength of our product proposition, the flexibility and diversification of our business model, and the relevance of our brand to an increasing number of customers.
"Our digital proposition continues to go from strength to strength and we have been very pleased with the performance of our retail stores since their re-opening. This has been a great testament to the growing appeal of the Joules brand, the attractive, lifestyle location of our store portfolio and the hard work and dedication of our colleagues across the busines during this time.
"Although the past 12 months has been incredibly challenging for the retail sector, I truly believe that Joules is now in an even stronger position than ever before. We have an increasingly digital-led business, more diversified income streams and a broader product proposition that is highly relevant to our customers’ lifestyles.
"Whilst the retail sector will continue to face near and medium-term challenges as a result of the pandemic, we look forward to the future with confidence underpinned by the strength and relevance of our brand and business model.”
When it last updated the market on it performance in the six months to 27 January, Joules it had achieved sales of £94.5m during the period, which was down 15.3% due to forced store closures.