Dec 12, 2017
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Joules has plenty to smile about as H2 is strong in-store and online

Dec 12, 2017

Joules continues to go from strength to strength with the UK-based fashion retailer saying Tuesday that it has seen “further brand expansion across markets and channels” in the half-year to November 26.


It’s a significant update as it includes the October and November period that has been so tough for many of its fashion retail peers in Britain. But it looks like the recent retail gloom hasn’t cast a shadow over Joules as its group revenue rose 18.2% in the six-month period, or a smaller-but-still-impressive 17.5% on a currency-neutral basis.

The company, known for its quirky British styling, said this growth reflected the brand's expansion, its growing customer base, which is now at more than one million active customers, and “the strong performance of both new and core collections.”

Retail revenue increased by 16.2% to £65.9 million, driven by “good growth across both stores and e-commerce,” another significant revelation given that stores have been the weak spot for many omnichannel retailers in recent months. Of course, new stores will have been part of the reason for the physical retail growth and the brand didn’t give us comp sales figures, but the firm’s confident outlook suggests that there is no obvious weakness in its stores. The group increased its retail store presence with the opening of a net 10 new stores across its different formats during the period.

Back with the figures, wholesale boomed too with a 23% rise (or 20.6% currency-neutral) to £30.1 million. The brand “continued to expand in its target international markets.”

Has all this growth been achieved at the expense of margins as is likely to be the story for many fashion retailers this season? It doesn’t appear so. Joules said the gross margin during the period “is anticipated to be in line with the first half of the prior year, reflecting continued discipline in promotional activity and an improvement in international wholesale gross margin.”

CEO Colin Porter said the company looks forward “with confidence to the second half of the financial year, underpinned by the strength of the Joules brand and our collections.” He conceded that “trading conditions will remain challenging,” but said the firm is well positioned for the Christmas trading period and has seen “good growth in our wholesale order book for Spring/Summer 18.”

Joules is currently available in the UK and Ireland, where it has 118 stores, as well as the US Germany, France and other European markets. The brand is available in over 1,500 stockists worldwide including John Lewis, Next Label, Nordstrom and Dillards.

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