Joules says “sales ahead of expectations” despite challenging times
Lifestyle British brand Joules has announced an “encouraging performance” in sales for Q1 - the 13 weeks from 1 June to 30 August 2020.
Ecommerce sales increasing +63%, despite retail store sales declining by -49% for the period in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Group revenue performance during the period was ahead of the board’s expectations at £39.6m. Overall group revenue was down -18%, reflecting the coronavirus impact on Joules’ stores, and those of many of its wholesale partners.
Wholesale sales were in line with the board’s expectations and reduced by -59%, reflecting the anticipated slower recovery of the wholesale channel.
In its latest AGM trading update, Joules Group plc states “encouraging trading”, with its management’s continued tight control of costs. Joules had net cash of £8.5m at the end of the period, significantly ahead of the board’s expectations, and up from the year end position of £4.5m.
The group has liquidity headroom of £57m, and is “well positioned” to manage potentially challenging trading conditions over the coming months.
Joules CEO, Nick Jones, said: “We are encouraged by the group’s performance in the first quarter of the financial year with sales ahead of our expectations. This is testament to the flexibility of the Joules model and the increasing strength, relevance and awareness of the Joules brand.
“The group’s strong ecommerce performance demonstrates the appeal of Joules as well as our growing customer base, and we continue to be very encouraged by the performance of our ‘Friends of Joules’ digital marketplace.
“In addition, we have been pleased with the performance of our stores since re-opening with higher levels of conversion when compared to pre-lockdown and steadily improving footfall trends.
“As with all consumer-facing businesses we face challenging trading conditions and unprecedented levels of uncertainty over the coming months and into the peak Christmas trading season. But we remain confident.”
Joules continued to deliver a strong performance online with ecommerce revenue - including third parties - increasing by 45% against the prior year. This strong performance reflects increased customer traffic to the Joules website and improved conversion rates.
Joules commenced the phased reopening of its stores on 15 June 2020, with all stores reopened by early August. Since reopening, the stores have performed well with strong levels of customer conversion supporting a sales performance ahead of the board’s expectations, and just 10% lower than the comparable prior year period.
This reflects the “well-balanced geographic locations” of the group’s retail stores, and a strong promotional offer to help drive footfall.
Feedback on the SS21 product range from wholesale customers across the brand’s global wholesale markets has been “positive.”