Joules sales up 4% despite "significant challenges" of Covid for retailers
Joules has achieved a 4% growth in sales to approximately £199m in the year to 30 May 2021 despite the "significant challenges" the Coronavirus pandemic posed for the retail sector.
The British premium fashion and lifestyle brand said a strong digital performance and increasing active customer numbers, as well as the positive contribution from the acquisition of the digitally led home and garden retailer Garden Trading Company since February 2021, had led to the growth.
Retail revenue, which includes e-commerce sales as well as the group’s stores, increased 9% year on year. This was primarily as a result of strong sales growth through its own digital channels with demand on Joules' own websites, which includes the Friends of Joules online marketplace, growing approximately 48% year on year. Store sales reduced by approximately 41% year on year.
Profit before tax and exceptional items for the period is anticipated to be in the range of £5.5m - £6.5m, slightly ahead of current market expectations
Joules said its stores had performed ahead of management’s expectations since their reopening following the third national lockdown, with sales for the eight weeks since reopening ahead of the comparable period two years ago. The company said it had benefited from its stores being based in local high streets as shoppers stayed closer to home.
Garden Trading has performed ahead of the board’s expectations since the acquisition in February 2021, with revenues approximately 78% higher than the comparable prior year period, Joules said. Its wholesale channel was adversely impacted by the enforced closures of stores and reduced footfall during the year both across the UK and the group’s US and German partners. As a result, wholesale sales reduced by approximately 17% year on year.
CEO Nick Jones said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the lives of consumers, the level of disruption and pace of change in the retail sector over the past 12 months has been truly unprecedented. I am delighted that, against this backdrop, Joules has been able to deliver a very solid financial performance and strong strategic progress. This outcome primarily reflects, firstly, the strength and relevance of the Joules brand to an increasing number of customers and, secondly, the increasing importance of our digital proposition both to customers and within our business model, with approximately 77% of our retail sales now generated online.
"As we move into the new financial year, Joules is now a stronger and more diversified business than ever before. The continued success and growth of our Friends of Joules digital marketplace and our strengthened position in the home, garden & outdoor sector following the acquisition of Garden Trading means that we now offer significantly more products across more categories and provide our customers with more choice and reasons to shop with us. As a result of the strength of the Joules brand and the increasing diversification of the Group’s digital-led business model, we believe that the Group is very well positioned to continue to deliver its ambitious growth plans.”
The group also confirmed that new CEO Caroline York would be joining the business on 26 July.