Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 2933V
Joules Group plc
06 August 2020
 

Joules Group plc

('Joules' or the 'Group')

 

Annual Results for the 53-week period ending 31 May 2020

 

Encouraging recent trading reflects the strength of the Joules brand with continued strong e-commerce demand during the UK lockdown

 

Business well positioned to navigate existing and potential COVID-19 challenges:

·      Trading performance ahead of management's expectations1 after the first nine weeks of FY21

-      E-commerce demand2 up more than 70% on the comparable period in prior year

-      All stores now re-opened with overall performance ahead of expectations

-      Wholesale performing in line with expectations

·      Strong financial position with net-cash of £5.4 million and liquidity headroom of £54 million at 2 August 2020, significantly ahead of management's expectations1

·      Continued progress on strategic initiatives:

-      'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace providing increased range and choice to Joules' customers

-      UK and US distribution centre transformation initiatives complete, providing improved capacity, service levels and productivity

-      New store point of sale platform implemented, further integrating the store experience with our digital channels under our flexible 'Total Retail' model

·      Joules brand health3 and engagement scores at record highs with Joules ranked 12th out of 278 consumer brands in KPMG Nunwood's 2020 Consumer Experience Excellence report

 

FY20 performance:

·      Group revenue decreased by 12.5% to £190.8 million (FY19: £218.0m) adversely impacted by COVID-19 and the previously reported e-commerce stock availability issue over the Christmas trading period

-      Revenue impact of COVID-19 in the final quarter is estimated at c.£31 million4

-      E-commerce performed well with Joules' own e-commerce channel revenue up c.11% for the year

-      E-commerce represented nearly 57% of retail sales (FY19: 49.5%). For the first nine months, pre-COVID-19, it represented nearly 51% of retail sales

-      Store revenue declined 21.4% for the year.  Over the first 9 months, pre-COVID-19, store sales declined c.8%, reflecting structural industry trends and reduced promotional activity

-      Wholesale revenue declined 25.3%, with the final quarter experiencing a reduction of c.75% as wholesale customers globally closed their operations in response to COVID-19

·      Loss before tax (pre-IFRS16 and exceptional items)5 of £2.0 million (FY19: £12.9m profit)

·      Statutory loss before tax of £25.3 million (FY19: £12.9m profit)

-      IFRS16 (Leases) net impact £(1.8) million (FY19: na)

-      Exceptional costs £(21.5) million (FY19: nil) including £21.0 million non-cash impairment charge

·      Group gross margin 50.7%, down 4.1%pts, impacted by sales channel mix and increased promotional activity in the final quarter

·      Basic earnings per share loss 22.07 pence (FY19: 11.6 pence)

·      1.43 million active customers6 and record brand awareness and brand health3 metrics achieved during the final quarter of the year

·      Net cash7 of £4.5 million (FY19: £5.8m) and liquidity headroom of £53 million at 31 May 2020

 

Nick Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Joules, commented:

"I am incredibly proud of how Joules has responded and adapted to the recent disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I would like to again thank our colleagues for their hard work, our customers for their continued loyalty, and our partners for their collaboration throughout this challenging time.

 

We were quick to bolster our liquidity position, preserve cash and focus our trading online, and we are very encouraged by the more than 70% growth in e-commerce demand since the start of the new financial year as well as the performance of our stores since reopening. This is testament to the strength of the Joules brand, the relevance of our product range, the desirable locations of our stores and the flexibility of our model.

 

Whilst the Group's financial results for FY20 were impacted by challenging external trading conditions in the UK throughout the year; the stock availability issue that, as previously reported, impacted our e-commerce sales over the Christmas trading period; as well as material COVID-19-related disruption during the final quarter, I am very pleased with the continued progress we have made against our long-term strategic goals. We have further strengthened our flexible 'Total Retail' model; enhanced our UK and US supply chain operations to support our growth plans; and launched Friends of Joules, an exciting new digital marketplace.

 

Whilst the retail sector will continue to face challenging trading conditions over the coming months, I believe that Joules is very well positioned to navigate both the existing and potential further COVID-19-related challenges and continue to invest in targeted growth opportunities. The Joules brand's awareness and health metrics have never been stronger, and I firmly believe that, underpinned by our strong brand purpose, Joules is more relevant than ever before."

 

Reconciliation to statutory profit/loss before tax:          

 

£million

FY20

FY19

PBT pre-IFRS16 and exceptional costs5

(2.1)

£12.9

IFRS16 (net PBT impact)

(1.8)

na

PBT - before exceptional costs

(3.9)

£12.9

Exceptional costs

(21.5)

-

Statutory (loss)/profit before tax

(25.3)

£12.9

 

1 Expectations is stated with reference to management's most recent forecast being the 'base case' used for the Directors' assessment of going concern and as the basis for the Group's FY21 financial year budget

2 Demand is a non-GAAP measure. It states the total sales value (inclusive of sales tax) of customer orders received in the relevant period, excluding any returns received or provision for potential returns

3 Brand Awareness and Brand Health are measured as part of an independent YouGov consumer survey

4 COVID-19 revenue impact is estimated based on management's revenue forecast for the final quarter prepared just prior to the start of Q4 with consideration to sales run rates, prior year sales, wholesale order book and planned promotional activity

5 LBT/PBT - pre-IFRS16 and exceptional costs is a non-GAAP measure provided to facilitate comparison across periods, it is stated prior to the impact of IFRS16 (Leases) adopted for the first time in FY20, and prior to exceptional costs that are primarily related to non-cash asset impairments in the Period

6 Customer registered on our database who has transacted in the last 12 months.  Prior years restated to reflect improved database matching (FY19: 1.39 million active customers)

7 'Net cash' represents gross cash & cash equivalents less total borrowings.

 

 

Enquiries:

 

Joules Group plc

Nick Jones, CEO

Marc Dench, CFO

Tel: +44 (0) 1858 435 255

 

 

Hudson Sandler (Financial PR)

Alex Brennan

Lucy Wollam

 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

 

 

Peel Hunt LLP, Nominated Advisor and Joint Broker

George Sellar

Andrew Clark

 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900

 

 

Liberum Capital Limited, Joint Broker

John Fishley

Edward Thomas

 

 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3100 2000

 

 

Joules - a premium lifestyle brand with an authentic British heritage

Established in Britain by Tom Joule three decades ago, Joules is a premium lifestyle brand with an authentic heritage. 

 

The Joules story began in 1989, when Tom Joule started selling clothing on a stand at a country show in Leicestershire. Today, it is a true multi-channel lifestyle brand; its products are available through its e-commerce websites, retail stores, at rural shows and events and wholesale channels both in the UK and internationally. 

 

Joules carefully designs and sells clothing, footwear and accessories for women, men and children. The business also sells ever-growing collections of homeware, eyewear and lifestyle product ranges through both its licensing partnerships and 'Friends of Joules', the brand's online marketplace that brings together hundreds of creative businesses to give customers everything they could ever need for a contemporary country lifestyle.

 

The brand's values of quality, Britishness, family and humour, coupled with its unique use of colour and print set Joules apart. This approach, along with an unwavering attention to detail and drive to surprise and delight its customers with unexpected details, has been central to the brand's success and remains at the heart of everything Joules creates. 

 

www.joules.com

www.joulesgroup.com 

 

Joules Fast Facts

•      Joules is an international brand, available in the UK, USA, Germany and other international markets

•      Joules has a significant online business, operates across 128* stores in the UK and ROI across a range of location types and has a well-established wholesale business with over 2,000 stockists worldwide

•      Joules' talented in-house print design team lovingly hand-draw all the prints and unexpected unique details you see within its collections each season

•      Joules is proud of its British heritage and still has strong roots in Market Harborough, the site of its first shop and head office - since day one

•      Joules' performance has been recognised through a number of awards including:

Mainstream Brand of the Year - Drapers Awards 2019, 2017 and 2016

Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand Award - Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2019

Best Licensed Gifting Product Award - Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Award 2019

The Best Fashion Retailer (Mark of Excellence) - Retail Week Awards 2019 and 2018

Fashion Retail Business of the Year (between £101m-£500m turnover) - Drapers Awards 2018 and 2017

 

*As at 31 May 2020, excluding concessions and franchises (33 concessions and 3 franchise stores)

 

 

 

 

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

 

INTRODUCTION

The Group is publishing its Annual Report for the year ended 31 May 2020 ("FY20" or the "Period") at a time when people, communities and economies around the world continue to face exceptional challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak of the virus at the beginning of 2020, our foremost priority has been the safety and wellbeing of the entire Joules community. In this Strategic Report, Nick Jones, the Group's CEO, explains in detail the actions taken and flexibility demonstrated by the Group in response to the pandemic, however I would like to take this opportunity to express the Board's gratitude to our resilient employees, supportive customers and flexible business partners for their commitment throughout this incredibly challenging period.

 

Whilst the outbreak of COVID-19 only impacted the final months of the Group's FY20 performance, like many other retailers the pandemic has had a material effect on our business. From 23 March until after the Period end, the entire Joules store portfolio was closed alongside the stores of our UK wholesale partners in accordance with UK Government guidance. Trading conditions in the brand's key international markets, Germany and the US, experienced similarly high levels of disruption. 

 

I am incredibly proud of the decisive actions taken by our leadership team in order to manage the significant pressures on the Group's operations and liquidity as a result of COVID-19-related disruption. With the cooperation of some of the Group's key stakeholders including stock suppliers, non-stock suppliers, landlords and our people, we were quickly able to introduce several mitigating actions to conserve cash throughout this period of significant uncertainty. In order to further bolster the Group's financial flexibility, in April the Group announced a Placing of 18,750,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 80 pence per share, raising £15 million gross proceeds. The Board was delighted with the levels of support shown by our shareholders during this process. This support was echoed by Barclays Bank PLC who in April provided a £15 million increase to the Group's existing Revolving Credit Facility. The additional liquidity has given the Group important headroom to manage near-term pressures resulting from the pandemic as well as providing the resources for Joules to emerge relatively stronger from this unprecedented situation.

 

FY20 RESULTS OVERVIEW

The Group's strategic progress in FY20 was delivered against a backdrop of sustained difficult trading conditions in the brand's core UK market as well as the impact of COVID-19 during the final months of the Period.  Despite these headwinds, Joules continued to increase its customer base, expand its presence internationally and deliver several important strategic initiatives - including the exciting launch of the 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace - that will support the brand's future growth.

 

In addition to the external headwinds that the Group faced during the Period, as previously indicated our financial performance was also impacted by a stock availability issue through the important end of autumn/winter season promotional period. Whilst the cause of this issue was quickly identified and addressed, we were disappointed with our inability to fully satisfy our customers' demand through our e-commerce channel during the important Christmas sale period. Despite this short term and one-off set-back, the Board remains incredibly encouraged by increasing customer awareness of and demand for the Joules brand.

 

Group revenue in the Period of £190.8 million was down 12.5% on the prior year (FY19: £218.0m). Retail sales were £145.9 million with store sales down 21.4% and e-commerce sales up 5.0% driven by strong sales through the Group's owned e-commerce channels (which increased 10.8%).  Wholesale sales, which were significantly impacted by COVID-19 in the final quarter, were £42.7 million, a reduction of 25.3% in the Period.

The Group recorded a loss before tax, pre-IFRS16 - Leases and exceptional costs, of £2.0 million (FY19: £12.9m profit).  The statutory loss before tax for the Period, including the impact of IFRS16 of £1.4 million and exceptional costs of £21.5 million, was a loss of £25.3 million (FY19: £12.9m profit).

As announced in March 2020, the Board took the decision to cancel its proposed interim dividend considering the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent macro-economic uncertainty. The Board believes it is prudent and in the long-term interests of shareholders to preserve its available cash resources during these unprecedented times and, consequently, is not declaring a full year dividend for FY20.  The Board does not anticipate declaring a dividend in the FY21 year but will keep it under review with the intention to return to the previous progressive dividend policy as soon as it is financially possible and prudent to do so.

The CEO's Report and Financial Review that follow provide a more in-depth analysis of the trading performance and financial results of the Group.

 

BOARD UPDATE

Nick Jones was appointed to the Board as Chief Executive Officer on 30 September 2019, having joined the business on 2 September 2019.  Nick brings a wealth of highly relevant experience to Joules and the Board is very pleased with the positive impact he has already made on the Group since joining.

 

Reflecting Joules' significant growth into the international lifestyle brand it is today, the role of Tom Joule, the Group's Founder and Chief Brand Officer, has continued to evolve over recent years. Following Nick's appointment and as the business moves into its next phase of long-term development, Tom and the Board have agreed updated terms of reference. These changes, in effect, formalise the evolution of Tom's role in the business and, effective from June 2020, Tom has moved to a more flexible, but reduced, working pattern anticipated to be a time commitment of approximately 50%. Going forward, in addition to his ongoing responsibilities as a Director of the company, which include supporting in the development of the business strategy these changes will enable Tom to increase his focus on providing guidance to our outstanding creative team in the product development process and driving new growth initiatives, such as 'Friends of Joules' and international expansion.

 

OUTLOOK

The Group demonstrated its resilience and flexibility in managing the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to report that we have performed ahead of the Board's COVID-19 base case since the UK entered lockdown in terms of both trading and the Group's liquidity position. As consumers and businesses begin to emerge from the initial shock of the pandemic and into the 'new normal', we are under no illusions that the impact of the pandemic on businesses, communities and consumer confidence will be felt for some time to come.

Despite this, we remain as confident as ever in Joules' long-term prospects and potential. The investments we have made over recent years in our infrastructure to support the flexibility of our operating model means that we are well positioned to adapt and evolve to meet changing consumer behaviours, whether these are short-term adjustments or more fundamental and long-term trends. Since its foundation, Joules has been built as a truly integrated, multi-channel business with a focus on reaching and serving its customer base wherever they choose to shop. The Group's e-commerce channels already represented half of total retail sales prior to the impacts of COVID-19, and we anticipate that this will continue to increase in the years ahead. We have continued to invest in our e-commerce platform to support this anticipated growth with the addition of new payment methods, improved search and enhanced product merchandising as well the seamless integration of third-party products onto the platform as part of our 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace.

On 15 June we were pleased to commence a phased re-opening of stores after a near three-month period of closure. Whilst it is still early in the process to fully predict to what extent store footfall and sales will recover, we remain confident that the Group's flexible and agile 'Total Retail' model puts Joules in a strong position to be able to adapt to the way customers choose to interact with our brand going forward.  Across our portfolio of 128 stores, a large proportion are in 'lifestyle locations' and more than a third of our portfolio has a lease event within the next 18 months, with an average lease length of less than three years.  We will continue to review the appropriate shape of our store portfolio and lease agreements.

Macro-economic uncertainty looks set to continue across the Group's key markets over the coming months and this will have an inevitable impact on consumer confidence and spending. Against this backdrop, the Group intends to continue to tightly manage its cost base until there is better visibility of sustained demand recovery across the Group's channels.

 

Joules is a very strong, differentiated and highly relevant brand that is well-positioned to meet consumers' evolving priorities. In addition, the Group has a solid financial position, well-invested operations and a clear strategy to continue to expand both in the UK and internationally, where we will focus on driving growth through our capital-light wholesale and digital channels. The Board remains confident in the Group's ability to adapt and react swiftly to a range of economic recovery scenarios and capture what the Board continues to believe are exciting, long-term growth opportunities.

 

 

CEO's REPORT

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I am pleased to provide my first report to Joules' stakeholders since joining Joules in September 2019. I have been incredibly impressed by the strength of the brand, the flexibility of our multiple routes to market and the skill and commitment of our teams.  I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead this fantastic brand through the next chapters of its growth.

 

Before expanding on the Group's progress in FY20 in more detail it is appropriate to first address the impact of COVID-19 on the business and outline the actions we have taken in response to the pandemic.

 

COVID-19 - RESPONSE, MITIGATION AND MOVING FORWARD

 

First and foremost, it is right to acknowledge the tragic impact that COVID-19 has had on individuals and families across the world, and I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to those members of the wider Joules community who have been affected.

 

The disruption to the retail industry caused by the pandemic has been unlike anything we have seen before. Against this backdrop, I am incredibly proud with the decisiveness and speed with which the Joules team has responded and adapted. This has been made possible by the investments made over recent years in our infrastructure and IT systems, combined with a culture of agility which enabled a seamless transition to remote working across the business in March 2020 and the continuation of operations without disruption.

 

Since early March 2020, Joules has been focused on managing both the immediate and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on the business. As a result, management has taken a series of actions in order to deliver the following five key COVID-19 priorities:

 

Keeping our colleagues, customers and communities safe

Our top priority throughout the pandemic has been the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers, business partners and communities:

•    During March we temporarily transitioned to remote working and, between 20-23 March, we closed all our stores ahead of government guidance in order to protect our colleagues, customers and communities

•    With our outsource logistics partner Clipper Logistics we introduced additional hygiene measures in our warehouse and temporarily reduced capacity in order to better protect our teams and ensure strict compliance with physical distancing requirements

•    We introduced a range of new safeguarding measures as we began a phased re-opening of stores from 15 June in line with UK Government regulations. These included managing staffing levels to allow for physical distancing in our stores, limiting the number of customers in store at any one time, introducing new signage for customers and employees to remind them of physical distancing, introducing Perspex screens at points of sale, providing personal protective equipment for our employees, and enhancing hygiene including the provision of hand sanitiser for customers upon entry to stores.

 

Continuing to serve our customers to the best of our ability

Throughout this period of unprecedented disruption in the UK and our targeted international markets, we have strived to continue to be available to our loyal customers and satisfy their demand for Joules:

 

•    We kept our UK e-commerce website open to customers throughout the lockdown period, albeit with constrained warehouse capacity

•    We prioritised serving the brand's existing customers and making sure that Joules remained available to them

•    As a result, we were pleased that e-commerce demand (order value including sales tax, excluding returns) during the final quarter of the year was significantly ahead of the Board's expectations and was more than 40% higher year on year. 

 

Managing liquidity

Given the pandemic's significant disruption to trading, we took swift action to strengthen the financial position of the business.  These actions - several of which have involved the valued support of our suppliers, landlords, and employees - have included:

•    Postponing non-critical capital expenditure

•    Voluntary salary reductions taken by all the Board of Directors as well as other members of the Group's senior management and all non-furloughed colleagues

•    Working collaboratively with product suppliers to reduce Autumn/Winter 2020 inventory commitments and add greater flexibility to Spring/Summer 2021 inventory commitments

•    Utilising several of the UK Government's support initiatives including rates relief for stores, the Job Retention Scheme for furloughed employees, and deferring some payments due to HMRC

•    Cancelling the Group's proposed Interim Dividend to shareholders, saving £0.7m of cash

•    Announcing an equity placing on 3 April, from which the Group raised gross proceeds of £15 million

•    Agreeing a £15 million increase to the Group's Revolving Credit Facility ('RCF') with Barclays Bank plc, announced on 21 April

•    As a result, the Group ended FY20 with net cash of £4.5 million and headroom of £53 million against committed borrowing facilities, which was ahead of the Board's COVID-19-related base case at the beginning of Q4 2020.

 

Supporting our local communities and partners

The pandemic provided a strong reminder of the responsibilities we have as a business to continue our commitment to positively contribute to the communities around us. We identified several ways through which we could support the fight against the virus by utilising our relationships and resources:

•    We leveraged our supplier partnerships to source and donate vital personal protective equipment to key workers. We delivered 50,000 civilian-grade face masks to key workers in urgent need across the University of Leicester Hospitals Trust, Hospice UK, and various other regional key worker end user groups. In addition, we partnered with the University of Leicester Hospitals Trust to source urgently needed hospital gowns

•    In March we launched a specially curated 'Rainbow Edit' collection comprising a range of products featuring colourful splashes of bright rainbows and rainbow colours. All profits from sales of products included within the edit have been donated to the NHS Charities Together Urgent COVID-19 Appeal to fund a wide range of initiatives including wellbeing packs for staff and vital accommodation for frontline workers. To date, the edit has raised over £70,000

•    In order to provide support for our valued partners selling through our 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace, we waived platform fees for a period of time to alleviate financial pressure and actively used our social media channels to promote our partners and support their businesses.

 

Keeping sight of the bigger picture

Whilst the effects of the pandemic are still being felt and long-term impact on consumer behaviour and the economy remains uncertain, it has been vital over recent months that we do not lose sight of the bigger picture and the significant, long-term opportunities for Joules.

 

We have a distinctive brand and unique products much loved by our customers; a flexible and integrated 'Total Retail' model to adapt to evolving customer behaviours; and a strong platform for continued international growth and product extension. We are confident that the actions taken over recent months to drive digital sales and manage liquidity in combination with the investments made over recent years in our infrastructure mean that the long-term future for Joules remains as bright as ever.

 

 

STRATEGY & BUSINESS MODEL

 

GROWTH STRATEGY

We have a consistent and established strategy for the long-term development of Joules as a premium lifestyle brand, both in the UK and internationally. I have confidence in the continued relevance of our four proven strategic growth drivers for the brand, namely: increasing customer value; driving total UK brand sales; expanding internationally; and carefully extending the brand into a greater range of product categories.

 

1. INCREASE CUSTOMER VALUE

Increasing customer value means two things for Joules: firstly, growing our active customer base and secondly, increasing those customers' frequency of interaction and spend with the brand.  We do this by providing standout products and enjoyable experiences for consumers across all channels as well as communicating with our customers through relevant, authentic and targeted campaigns and engaging content. 

 

We believe we have significant capacity to further grow the brand's active customer base in both our core UK market, where we still have significant headroom to grow, as well as our target international markets, the US and Germany.

 

2. DRIVE TOTAL UK BRAND SALES - 'TOTAL RETAIL'

Our flexible 'Total Retail' model enables Joules to continually adapt to meet evolving customer expectations and shopping behaviours. Our goal is to provide a great experience for our customers however they wish to engage with our brand:

-       E-commerce - We expect to continue to increase the mix of e-commerce sales as a proportion of our total retail sales through ongoing enhancements to our digital platforms

-       Stores - Joules operates a portfolio of stores across the UK that enables our customers to shop and interact with the brand. As well as being important sales channels, our increasingly digitally enabled stores offer valuable touch points to showcase the brand to both existing and potential customers

-       Wholesale - We continue to broaden the reach of the Joules brand through selected wholesale partners that are closely aligned with our brand values and product categories - including specialist independents, department stores, destination lifestyle retailers, subscription services and online retailers. Wholesale is an important, capital light, capability that facilitates our international growth strategy

-       Country shows and events - Over the past 30 years, Joules has developed a strong brand presence at a wide range of country shows and events across the UK. The channel remains an important part of the Joules brand's heritage and provides real customer connectivity

-       Marketplaces & concessions - As well as supporting the more traditional concession model, we continue to leverage our wholesale capabilities and relationships to support emerging new retail channels such as online marketplaces and 'fulfilled by' models that provide us with new routes to reach our target customer base in the UK and internationally.

 

3. INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION

The Joules brand and products have demonstrated their appeal in our primary international markets, the US and Germany. We develop our brand presence in these markets via a proven wholesale model supported by e-commerce. We leverage the investments made in our central creative and design functions, supply chain and infrastructure with support from local teams, sales agents and product showrooms.

 

4. PRODUCT & BRAND EXTENSION

The strength of the Joules brand means that we can extend into new product categories that meet our customers' lifestyle needs. We continue to work with carefully selected licence partners to create new Joules-branded products and categories that are complementary to our core ranges.

 

During FY20 we were proud to launch an exciting brand extension for Joules in the form of our new digital marketplace, 'Friends of Joules', that offers everything that our customers need for a contemporary country lifestyle. Through 'Friends of Joules' we are bringing together and integrating into our existing e-commerce platform thousands of complementary lifestyle products from a wide range of carefully curated creative businesses in one easy-to-shop online marketplace.

 

 

UNIQUE BRAND & MULTI-CHANNEL BUSINESS MODEL 

Our ability to progress against each of the pillars of this growth strategy is underpinned by the Group's flexible, multi-channel business model and our strong, differentiated brand.

 

The Joules brand - brightening our customers' lives with the joy of the countryside.

The Joules brand takes inspiration from nature and the changing British seasons. We design and create unique design-led clothing and accessories that reflect our customers' lifestyles, come rain or shine. The brand stands out with its signature uses of colour and distinctive prints that are hand drawn by our in-house team in Market Harborough.

 

What has been most striking to me since joining the Group is the relevance of the Joules brand to our customers' lifestyles. I believe that this relevance will only grow stronger over the coming years as we expect a continuing trend for consumers to feel increasingly loyal and connected to brands that share their personal values. It is for this reason that our Responsibly Joules ethos is more important than ever. From the day Joules started with nothing more than a table in a field, to the brand our customers know and love today, we have always been conscious of our impact on the environment, the wildlife within it, the people we work with, and the communities where we operate.  We work hard to make sure that what we do is right and are committed to fighting for the environment that inspires us. Further details on our Responsibly Joules strategy and activity during the year can be found in the Annual Report.

 

The strength of the brand was again recognised by being named winner in the Mainstream Brand of the Year category at the 2019 edition of the prestigious Drapers awards. Joules picked up the accolade for the third time in four years with the judges commending the exceptional strength and relevance of the brand.

 

Multi-channel business model

Joules has been developed as a truly multi-channel business. We distribute our products to customers seamlessly across multiple channels, enabling customers to engage with and shop the brand wherever, whenever and however they choose. Our flexible and integrated approach balances the Group's exposure to any single route to market in what is set to become an even more dynamic, competitive and increasingly digital-led retail landscape. We continue to believe the flexibility of our 'Total Retail' approach will remain critical to Joules' ongoing expansion and future success.

 

 

 

FY20 BUSINESS REVIEW

 

Joules delivered a resilient performance in the year to 31 May 2020 despite facing challenging external trading conditions in the UK throughout the year, which resulted in high levels of promotional activity across the sector, as well as additional COVID-19-related disruption during the final months of the Period. We made further pleasing progress against our strategic goals including investing to strengthen our flexible 'Total Retail' model; enhancing our UK and US supply chain operations to support our growth plans; and launching an exciting new digital marketplace called 'Friends of Joules' to deepen our customer relationships.

 

 

FY20 STRATEGIC PROGRESS

The Group's Strategic KPIs have been selected based on their link to the successful delivery of our strategy.  They are monitored by the Board on a regular basis. The Group's financial KPIs are covered in the Financial Review.

 

Strategic KPIs

Online % of Retail

FY16: 32.1%

FY17: 34.8%

FY18: 38.4%

FY19: 49.5%

FY20: 56.6%

Number of stores1

FY16: 92

FY17: 105

FY18: 119

FY19: 125

FY20: 128

Total selling space1 ('000 Sq. ft.)

FY16: 107

FY17: 132

FY18: 159

FY19: 175

FY20: 182

International as % of total revenue

FY16: 10.1%

FY17: 11.5%

FY18: 13.1%

FY19: 16.1%

FY20: 15.5%

Active customer numbers ('000)2

FY16: na

FY17: 991

FY18: 1,230

FY19: 1,394

FY20: 1,428

 

1 Joules retail stores only, excludes concessions and franchise stores; 33 concessions operated at May 2020

(33 at May 2019; 5 at May 2018 and previous years) and 3 franchises.

2 Customer registered on our database who has transacted in the last 12 months. Prior years restated to reflect enhanced customer database matching processes

 

Despite the external challenges we faced during FY20, particularly those encountered during the final months of the year as a result of COVID-19 and the internal, previously reported, stock availability issue that impacted our e-commerce sales over the Christmas trading period, I am pleased with the significant progress made by Joules across each pillar of our growth strategy:

 

INCREASING CUSTOMER VALUE

The Joules brand continued to expand during FY20, with brand awareness* increasing by 3.1%pt and brand health*achieving its highest ever levels. The Group's customer base also continued to increase, with 1.43 million active customers at the end of the Period (FY19: 1.39 million).  At the end of the year we had more than 560,000 Facebook followers (FY19: 530,000) and more than 300,000 Instagram followers (FY19: 240,000), with these communities continuing to demonstrate high levels of monthly engagement. These encouraging metrics continue to underpin our excitement and confidence in the significant future growth opportunities for the business.

 

We have continued to invest in marketing the brand in our own unique way, with emphasis on digital channels. Before Christmas 2019 we launched our first ever digital Christmas ad in collaboration with the much-loved duo Wallace and Gromit who, similarly to Joules, also celebrated their milestone 30th year in 2019. The campaign, titled 'Christmas at the Click of a Button', was incredibly well received by customers.

 

We continue to innovate new ways to drive customer value and, towards the end of 2019, we were delighted to launch a significant new customer initiative in the form of our new digital marketplace, 'Friends of Joules'.  Through 'Friends of Joules' we have partnered with hundreds of like-minded creative people and businesses in order to offer our customers everything they could ever need for a contemporary country lifestyle. Our digital marketplace aims to replicate and make accessible to customers the experience of walking around and exploring a bustling market town from the comfort of their own home. Customers have responded very positively to the curated ranges that are now integrated into our online platform and sales have been ahead of our initial expectations. Moving forward, we will continue to add new sellers to the platform and anticipate seeing a positive impact on customer acquisition, retention and value.

 

*Brand Awareness and Brand Health are measured as part of an independent YouGov consumer survey

 

DRIVING TOTAL UK BRAND SALES - 'TOTAL RETAIL'

E-commerce sales, including sales through third party retail concession models, now represent more than half of all retail sales. E-commerce sales increased by 5.0% with e-commerce sales through the Group's own channels increasing by 10.8%.  The growth in our customer base helped to drive traffic to Joules' e-commerce websites of more than 20% above the prior year.

 

We made further improvements to our digital customer proposition during the year including the launch of 'Friends of Joules', extending order cut-off times for next day delivery, and enhancing our web front end user experience with improved check-out experience, enhanced search functionality and new payment methods including ApplePay and Klarna's "buy now, pay later" service to provide more options and flexibility to our customers.

 

Whilst the Group's overall online sales performance for the year was impacted by a one-off stock availability issue through the important end of Autumn/Winter season sales period, the underlying cause of which has been addressed, as well as restricted capacity in the final quarter of the year as we managed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been incredibly encouraged by the strong customer demand through our e-commerce channel and plan to continue to invest in further driving digital sales in the year ahead.

 

Joules' stores are in desirable locations and we continue to believe that they play an important role in the ongoing expansion of the Joules brand in the UK, as well as in our customers' digital purchase journeys, with digital transactions such as click & collect, order-in-store and online returns representing over 20% of all store transactions in the Period. 

 

We ended the Period with 128 stores, three more than at the start of the Period.  We opened stores on a very selective and targeted basis - considering the role they play in new customer acquisition and brand awareness alongside flexible rent arrangements that are better suited to the current retail environment.

 

We continue to actively manage our store portfolio and successfully completed several lease renewals on attractive, flexible terms during the Period. Across the Group's portfolio of 128 stores, a large proportion are in 'lifestyle locations' and over a third of the portfolio has a lease event within the next 18 months. In the context of our store portfolio management, and rebased store sales forecasts following the impact of COVID-19, we have booked an impairment charge of £15.8 million in relation to those stores where their cash flows through to the next lease break does not support the carrying value of the store asset. Two-thirds of this impairment relates to 15 of the Group's stores.  If we cannot achieve suitable rent terms for these stores at the next lease event, we will relocate or close in these locations. 

 

We will continue to carefully appraise new openings in attractive locations that are appropriate for our brand and product range and where flexible and attractive leases can be secured.

 

Whilst wholesale remains an important distribution channel for the brand, particularly in our international markets, in FY20 the Group operated a smaller base of wholesale accounts in the UK reflecting the transition of some of our larger accounts to the retail concession model in the prior year. Sales through our UK wholesale partners during the Period were also impacted by sector-wide trading pressures as a result of lower footfall and subdued consumer confidence which   impacted our smaller, typically high-street located 'field' accounts. In addition, our wholesale partners were heavily impacted by disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic during the final months of the year. As a result of these factors, wholesale sales in the Period were approximately £42.7 million, a reduction of 25.3%.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION

The Group's international expansion is focused on establishing and growing the Joules brand in selected international markets, primarily the US and Germany, through wholesale partnerships and local currency e-commerce channels. During the Period, international revenue was £29.5 million (FY19: £35.1m) and represented 15.5% of Group revenue (FY19: 16.1%).

 

Our international e-commerce sales were up by 25% in the first three quarters of the year reflecting our growing customer base and continued positive responses to our brand and products in the US, Germany and across other international markets.  With the final quarter being heavily impacted by international distribution restrictions due to COVID-19, the full year increased by a more modest 11%.

 

We also continued to increase our social media and digital marketing activity in the US resulting in encouraging levels of customer engagement.

 

International wholesale faced challenging trading conditions through the year and was heavily impacted by the closure of most of our wholesale partners retail outlets through the final quarter. 

 

Overall, we remain highly confident in the resonance of our brand in our target markets of the US and Germany and believe we are well positioned to resume growth in these markets as the trading environment normalises.

 

PRODUCT & BRAND EXTENSION

We continue to extend the brand into new product categories that are complementary to our core clothing ranges and relevant to our customers' lifestyles. We do this by partnering, typically on a licence basis, with carefully selected businesses that align to Joules' values. We continue to take a very disciplined approach to establishing partnerships with a focus on home and gifting categories which complement our clothing ranges.

 

Our existing partnerships performed well during the year. The Joules sofa range in partnership with DFS has continued to perform particularly well, supported by the addition of the new Patterdale sofa to positive customer response. During the year we also launched a men's formalwear range in partnership with Next plc, a collection comprising suits, jackets, shirts, ties, pocket squares and shoes. Each item in the collection features Joules' distinctive designs, attention to detail and tailoring, and uses quality British fabrics which reflect the British countryside roots on which our brand is built. We have been pleased with the customer reaction so far.

 

During the year we were delighted to win in two award categories at the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards (B&LLA), which celebrate the best performers in product licensing. We were honoured to win in the Best Licensed Gifting Product category for our stationery and gifting collection created in partnership with Portico. We were also pleased to have the continued development of our licensing category recognised when we were named Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand.

 

Our new 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace has given us an additional channel to extend Joules' reach and customer offering into new product categories that are relevant to our customers' lifestyles. In the years ahead we are aiming to continue to expand the sellers and options available to customers through 'Friends of Joules' to offer an increasingly broad range of curated and relevant products to our customer base.

 

INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT LONG TERM GROWTH

To support the Group's long-term growth plans, we have made further investments in our e-commerce proposition, stores, infrastructure, systems and colleagues.

 

During the second half of the year we began a supply chain modernisation programme across both our UK and US operations aimed at building future capacity for growth, enhancing efficiencies and improving customer service levels.  In the UK, we extended the lease for our Corby Joules Distribution Centre ("JDC") and completed the outsourcing of our JDC operations to Clipper Logistics plc. We also commenced an investment programme at the JDC, which will continue for the remainder of 2020, that will expand capacity and modernise the facilities to support Joules in its aim to continue to meet customer demand into the future. In the US, during the second half of the year we transferred to a new third-party logistics provider in order to add additional capacity for our future growth and deliver operational efficiencies.  These supply chain initiatives incurred incremental and non-recurring costs during the transition phase but are expected to deliver significant benefits from FY22 onwards. 

 

In addition, during FY20 we completed the roll-out of our new point-of-sale system to the entire store estate which will deliver even greater integration between channels in our 'Total Retail' approach, including enabling much simpler order-in-store capability and visibility of customer activity across channels.

 

We continue to make progress on the development of our new Head Office in Market Harborough which, following COVID-19-related disruption, we expect to move in from early 2021. This new environment, which will bring all Head Office business functions together under one roof, will be an important driver of our culture, creativity and efficiencies moving forward. Our team's amazing response - seamlessly adapting to new ways of working - through the lockdown period demonstrates the benefits of more flexible and remote working. The new Head Office development layout has been reviewed and adapted to enable us to continue to maximise the benefits of this including more touch-down spaces and open collaboration and meeting areas.  Our trade showrooms will also be incorporated into the office with advanced 'digital showrooming' capability.   

 

OUR TEAM & THE JOULES COMMUNITY

Throughout my time with the Group so far, I have been struck by the talent and commitment of our colleagues, from our store and international teams to our Head Office. These attributes have been highlighted during the recent period of COVID-19-related disruption. Our teams have shown fantastic flexibility during this very challenging period and I would like to thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.

 

Throughout recent months, and in order to support the COVID-19 response discussed above, we have also received fantastic support from our suppliers, landlords, business partners, financial stakeholders and customers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone across the Joules community for their ongoing support for our business and brand.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

I remain highly confident in the significant long-term opportunities for Joules.  We have a fantastic brand, a flexible business model and a relevant growth strategy. Our strategic focus over the coming years will be to build on our strong foundations for continued growth by delivering the following priorities:

 

Growing brand presence

We have a loyal customer base and strong customer relationships. Our priority will be to continue to attract more new customers to the brand and grow customer numbers both in the UK, where we still have significant room to increase brand awareness, as well as across our targeted international markets.

 

Developing one strong team

We have an incredibly talented and committed team of colleagues across our business. Our priority is to continue to attract, develop, reward and retain this talent. We are committed to building on our, already strong, colleague engagement and firmly believe that committed and highly engaged colleagues are central to the successful delivery of our growth strategy.   The Black Lives Matter movement has, rightly, shone a light on diversity and inclusion.  As a business, we need to work harder to ensure that diversity is better represented across many areas of our business including our teams.  The Joules leadership team with support from colleagues across the business is actively working on a range of activities so that we can listen, understand, learn and do better.

 

Being increasingly digitally led

To further build our customer base, we will need to be increasingly digitally led in our marketing and sales focus. The investments made in recent years into our digital channels have driven e-commerce sales to represent half of our retail sales and I strongly believe that we now have a great opportunity to build on this platform and ramp-up our e-commerce market penetration.  We will continue to consider the appropriate shape and size of our retail store estate, including renegotiating leases where appropriate to ensure that our store estate remains highly relevant to our customers and contributes to our 'Total Retail' model.

 

 

Taking international to the next level

We know that the brand resonates well with customers in the US and Germany. We believe that we have a fantastic opportunity to leverage our differentiated core rainwear and outerwear products as a real point of difference in these international markets so that we can extend our wholesale reach and build customer awareness. This will be supported by investment in a digital, direct-to-consumer approach to driving sales.  

 

Delivering product with purpose

Joules is loved by its customers for its unique prints, use of colour and product quality. We must build on this by ensuring that our products and collections always have a clear purpose. This means being design and not fashion led, being innovative in our market so that our core products stand-out with our trademark details that surprise and delight customers and ensuring that our products are responsibly sourced.

 

Protecting our financial position

As detailed above, we have taken several actions to preserve cash resources over recent months in response to the severely disrupted trading patterns seen across our global markets. Going forward we will maintain our firm focus on liquidity and reducing net debt, including those payments that have been deferred.

 

Driving fit and focussed business operations

I have been incredibly proud of the efficiency and flexibility shown by the Group during the COVID-19 related lockdown.  We have a great team and culture, but there are ways that we can work smarter and more efficiently through streamlined decision making, removing complexity and enhancing our communications across teams.   The transition to increased remote working and the move to our new, more collaborative Head Office environment gives us a great opportunity and catalyst to be an even more efficient, nimble organisation.

 

In addition, we will focus on investing and deploying our resources into areas of the business that will drive our long-term development. 

 

At the core of all the above is our Responsibly Joules approach to sustainability and social responsibility.  Responsibly Joules sets out the framework and principles that underpin 'how we do things' and 'what we do'. These principles, that have been central to the Joules brand since we started in the fields of Great Britain over 30 years ago, have never been more important than they are now and, in the years, ahead.

 

 

FINANCIAL REVIEW  

 

The challenges faced in the final quarter of the Period, as the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic fully and rapidly materialised are unprecedented in modern times and certainly not experienced since Joules started trading more than thirty years ago. Despite a material impact upon revenue and profitability in the Period, the Group's response, as we entered the crisis, and positioning, as we emerged out of the UK lockdown, highlight many of Joules' strengths and its ability to navigate potential further disruption and volatility as well as capitalise on the growth opportunities.  These include:

 

·      Brand strength and momentum, with increasingly relevant products and a loyal customer base

·      Flexible and agile business model with over half of revenue from digital platforms prior to COVID-19

·      Well invested infrastructure to support the business model, with further enhancements to the Group's logistics capabilities completed in the second half of the year

·      Supportive shareholders, lenders and suppliers

·      Experienced, capable and decisive leadership team

 

Following a robust first half trading performance across the business, the second half of the year started with a stock availability issue that impacted our e-commerce performance over the important Christmas trading period and closed with the COVID-19 pandemic materially impacting our final quarter (March to May). 

 

COVID-19 - IMPACT ON THE GROUP'S FINANCIAL POSITION AND RESULTS FOR THE PERIOD

The CEO's report provides detail on the impact of COVID-19 on the Group's sales channels and operations together with the actions taken to reduce costs, preserve cash and strengthen the Group's financial position. The financial impact in the Period is summarised below, with more detail, where appropriate included in the relevant section of this Financial Review.

 Impact on business operations and sales channels

·      The Group's stores experienced materially lower footfall and sales from early March, and were all closed from the weekend of 21/22 March through the remainder of the Period with phased re-openings commencing from 15 June

·      No country shows or events were attended from mid-March onwards

·      Wholesale despatches slowed to effectively nil through the final quarter as our wholesale partners across the world closed their own retail locations

·      The Group's UK e-commerce channel remained open through the lockdown period, initially operating at a reduced capacity due to warehouse constraints, but quickly recovering to deliver very strong growth across the last seven weeks of the Period

·      Group revenue for the final two months of the year, although materially down on the comparable prior year period, was significantly ahead of management's COVID-19 base forecast that was prepared in March 2020, driven by UK e-commerce performance.

 

Actions taken to reduce costs

·      Variable costs:  Variable costs including turnover rents, merchant fees, distribution costs and to a lesser extent utilities and travel & expenses that naturally reduced with declining sales activity

·      Payroll costs: The Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ('CJRS') subsidised a large proportion of payroll costs for store colleagues, all furloughed from 23 March, and for approximately a third of Head Office colleagues furloughed from 1 April.   In addition, from 1 April all non-furloughed colleagues agreed to a voluntary pay reduction for a four-month period.

 

Actions taken to preserve cash and enhance the Group's financial position and liquidity

·      Inventory purchase commitments were reduced and rephased - in collaboration with our suppliers

·      Capital expenditure projects, including the Head Office development, were paused

·      Rent deferral arrangements were agreed with the majority of the Group's landlords

·      Agreements were reached with HMRC to defer VAT and PAYE

·      In April the Group raised gross proceeds of £15.0 million from an equity placing and agreed a £15.0 million increase to its Revolving Credit Facility.

 

 

Financial position, liquidity and going concern

At 31 May 2020, the Group had net cash of £4.5 million, comprising cash of £26.2 million and total borrowings of £21.7 million.   The Group had £52.5 million total liquidity headroom at 31 May 2020, comprising cash of £26.2 million and £26.3 million of undrawn committed financing facilities. The cash and liquidity headroom position were both significantly ahead of management's COVID-19 base case and downside case projections prepared in late March.

 

The Directors' have concluded that it is appropriate to prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis.  Further detail on financial position, liquidity and going concern assessment is provided later within this Financial Review.

 

SUMMARY INCOME STATEMENT

 

Period ended

£million 

May 2020

May 2019

 

Pre-  

IFRS 16 

 

IFRS 16 

Reported 

IFRS 16 

Reported 

IAS 17  

Revenue 

190.8

- 

190.8

218.0

Gross profit 

96.8

- 

96.8

119.4

Operating expenses

(92.0)

12.2

  (79.8)

(95.9)

   Share-based compensation 

0.4

- 

0.4

(2.6)

EBITDA - before exceptional costs

5.1

12.2

17.4

20.9

   Depreciation & amortisation 

(6.8)

(12.6)

(19.5)

(7.8)

Operating profit - before exceptional costs

(1.7)

(0.4)

(2.1)

13.1

Net finance costs 

(0.4)

(1.4)

(1.8)

(0.3)

PBT - before exceptional costs  

(2.0)

(1.8)

(3.9)

12.9

 

 

 

 

 

Reconciliation to reported result:

 

 

 

 

Operating profit - before exceptional costs

 

 

(2.1)

13.1

Exceptional costs

 

 

(21.5)

-

Operating profit

 

 

(23.6)

13.1

Net finance costs

 

 

(1.8)

(0.3)

Statutory PBT

 

 

(25.3)

12.9

 

 

 

 

 

PROFIT/(LOSS) BEFORE TAX ('PBT')

PBT before exceptional costs and the impact of IFRS16 - Leases was a loss of £2.0 million (FY19: £12.9m profit).  The transition to IFRS16 had a net impact on PBT - before exceptional costs of £(1.8) million (FY19: nil), resulting in a £3.9 million loss before tax and exceptional costs for the Period. This result reflects the impact of COVID-19 on the final quarter of the Period - that is estimated to have negatively impacted PBT by £12.5 million in the Period*, the previously reported stock availability issue over the Christmas trading period and includes non-recurring costs of £2.4 million as detailed further below.

In prior Periods, Underlying PBT was reported as the Group's primary non-GAAP metric.  Underlying PBT is stated before share-based compensation, the impact of IFRS 16 (Leases) and exceptional costs. From FY20 onwards, share-based compensation charges are reported 'above the line' so Underlying PBT measure is no longer considered relevant.  For comparison with last year Underlying PBT would be a loss of £2.4m (FY19: £15.5m profit)

Statutory PBT, which includes an exceptional impairment charge of £21.5 million in the Period, was a loss of £25.3 million (FY19: £12.9m profit). The non-cash exceptional impairment charge is detailed further below. 

 

* COVID-19 PBT impact estimated with reference to the revenue impact over the impacted period at the channel average gross margin rate, adjusting for variable cost savings, government support (rates relief, CJRS), management's cost saving actions and the impact of wholesale customer returns, discounts or receivables write-off.

 

 

FACTORS IMPACTING GROUP RESULTS

 

Our reported results for the Period were impacted by the following:   

IFRS16 - LEASES

The Group adopted IFRS16 - Leases from the start of the Period, applying the modified retrospective approach with no restatement of the prior year.  On transition at the end of FY19, qualifying lease commitments have been brought onto the balance sheet as both a 'Right-of-use' asset and a corresponding lease liability. On adoption, the Group recognised a 'Right-of-use' asset of £58.7 million and a lease liability of £56.4 million. The 'Right-of-use' asset at the end of the Period was £32.0 million, the movement in the year comprising: net additions, disposals and modifications of £2.7 million; impairment of £(16.7) million; and depreciation of £(12.6) million.

The net impact on PBT before exceptional costs for the Period was £(1.8) million, comprising £12.2 million add back of rent expense, £(12.6) million depreciation of the right of use asset and £(1.4) million interest expense on the lease liability.

Further detail on the impact of IFRS16 is provided in the Consolidated Financial Statements.

SHARE-BASED COMPENSATION

Share-based compensation reflects the IFRS2 accounting standard treatment for the non-cash expense in relation to employee share plans.  These include long-term incentive plans, deferred bonus awards and Save-as-you-Earn ("SAYE") plans as detailed in the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Directors' Remuneration Report of the Annual Report.   In the Period an income of £0.4 million was recognised (FY19: £(2.6)m expense) following a revision to the projected achievement of the current share plans' performance targets.

NON-RECURRING COSTS

During the Period the Group incurred non-recurring costs of £2.4 million (FY19: £nil).  These relate to:

·      Distribution centre (DC) transformation programme costs of £1.7 million.  This programme commenced and completed in the Period and included the outsourcing of the UK DC to Clipper Logistics plc and the transition of our US DC to a new third-party partner. £1.3 million of the cost was in operating costs and £0.4 million in cost of goods sold

·      COVID-19 impacts on our wholesale sales channel has resulted in a non-cash write-down of £0.7 million in relation to certain wholesale customer receivable balances.  The write-down reflects management's assessment, based on historic trading patterns, of the incremental expense relative to normal trading.

 

The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued guidance on 20 May 2020 on reporting for the treatment of incremental costs in relation to COVID-19.  In accordance with this guidance, the non-recurring cost of £0.7 million in relation to wholesale receivables has not been treated as exceptional costs or adjusted for in a non-GAAP measure.

 

EXCEPTIONAL COSTS

The Group regularly conducts a review of its assets to identify if there is any impairment to the carrying value of the assets.  This review incorporates the impact of IFRS16 - Leases, where property leases are now capitalised as a 'Right-of-use' asset on the balance sheet.

An exceptional charge of £21.5 million (FY19: £nil) has been made in the Period.  £21.0 million of the charge is a non-cash impairment charge, as detailed below, and £0.5 million is restructuring costs incurred in the Period.

 

Stores impairment of £15.8 million:  An impairment assessment has been undertaken for each of the Group's 128 stores using assumptions consistent with management's COVID-19 base case as used for the Group's going concern assessment. For stores where the value-in-use (discounted future cash flows to the lease break) was below the carrying value (IFRS16 'Right-of-use' asset and net book value of store fixed assets) an impairment charge has been made.    Five stores make up one third of the impairment charge, with a further ten stores making up another third. We anticipate that we will relocate or close these stores at the lease break if we are not able to agree economically viable lease renewal terms.

 

Head Office & showroom lease impairment of £3.8 million:  As previously communicated, we are relocating our Head Office to a newly developed freehold site in Market Harborough that also enables consolidation of existing rented showroom space.  A non-cash exceptional impairment charge has been made against the 'Right-of-use' asset for the current rented offices and showrooms, assuming a 30-month vacancy period until the leases expire or are assigned.  Fixed assets that will not be moved to the new location have also been impaired.

 

Other assets impairment of £1.4 million: mainly includes the impairment of certain fixed assets no longer in use following our distribution centre transformation programme.

 

GROUP PERFORMANCE IN THE PERIOD

 

REVENUE  

Group revenue decreased by 12.5% to £190.8 million (FY19: £218.0m).  Revenue for each of our reporting segments is summarised below.

£million

 

FY20

 

FY19

Variance

to FY19

Retail

145.9

159.1

-8.3%

 E-commerce

82.7

78.7

5.0%

 Stores

59.6

75.9

-21.4%

Wholesale

42.7

57.1

-25.3%

Other

2.2

1.8

24.1%

Group

190.8

218.0

-12.5%

 

The impact of COVID-19 on the Group's revenue in the final quarter of the Period is estimated as an approximate £31 million reduction.  With an £18 million adverse impact on Retail sales and a £13 million adverse impact on Wholesale sales.  This estimate is based on management's forecast for the final quarter that reflected the sales run rate prior to the final quarter, the wholesale order-book, and sales in the comparable period last year.

Retail 

Retail revenue decreased by 8.3% to £145.9 million. For the first half, the Group reported retail revenue growth of 3.1% (adjusted for Black Friday timing[1]).  On the same basis, the second half of the year, impacted by COVID-19 and the stock availability issue over the Christmas period, saw a year-on-year reduction of 22.4%.

The adverse impact of COVID-19 was partly mitigated by the Group's flexible 'Total Retail' model.  This enabled us to continue to trade our e-commerce channel effectively through the period of COVID-19.

 

E-commerce

E-commerce performed well, with revenue growth of 5.0% in the Period, building on very strong growth in recent years.  Our owned e-commerce channels performed particularly well, with growth of nearly 11% in the Period, supported by increased website traffic, driven by effective digital marketing activities and improved conversion, driven by ongoing enhancements to the customer experience and digital platforms that make it easier for our customer to shop.

During the period of the UK lockdown, from 23 March 2020, e-commerce sales via the Group's own UK website were particularly strong, with demand sales (sales incl. sales tax, excl. returns) growth of more than 50% versus the comparable period.  Traffic growth was up by more than 40% in the same period, with improved conversion rates also experienced.  Overall e-commerce revenue growth was held back by the closure of our international and 3rd Party e-commerce channels for a large part of the period.

E-commerce now represents 56.6% of all retail sales (FY19: 49.5%). For the first nine months of the Period, prior to stores being closed, e-commerce represented 50.9% of retail sales.

Stores

Store revenue declined by 21.4% in the Period.  For the first three-quarters of the year, stores sales declined by approximately 8%, reflecting structural industry trends and reduced promotional stance in the first half of the year. Notwithstanding their temporary closure through most of the final quarter, stores are an important part of our flexible 'Total Retail' model. At the end of the Period, the Group operated 128 owned stores, in addition to 33 concessions and three franchises.

Wholesale

Wholesale revenue decreased by 25.3% to £42.7 million, compared to underlying growth of 22% in the prior year (adjusting for the conversion of two large wholesale accounts to retail concessions in FY18).  In the first half of the year, wholesale revenue declined by 5.1% reflecting the timing of wholesale despatches and a softer EU wholesale market.  In the second half, wholesale revenues declined by approximately 50% as nearly all wholesale partners globally closed or contracted their operations in response to COVID-19.

International wholesale represented half of total wholesale sales (FY19: 48%).

Other 

Other revenue increased by 24.1% to £2.2 million (FY19: £1.8m).  Other revenue includes royalties from the sale of Joules branded products produced and sold under licence with a partner, including toiletries & gifting in partnership with Boots and the Joules sofa collections in partnership with DFS.  Commission from the sale of third-party products on the new 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace are also included in Other revenue.

International revenue

Total international revenue decreased by 15.8% and represented 15.5% of total Group revenue (FY19: 16.1%), with disappointing performance in the second half of the year, which was materially impacted by COVID-19 - with international wholesale and e-commerce both effectively closed for most of our final quarter, reversing the growth delivered in the first half.   

The appeal of the Joules brand in our target international markets remains strong.  E-commerce sales in the US and Germany continued to deliver encouraging growth despite our websites being closed to customer orders in these markets for a large part of the final quarter, due to COVID-19 restricting the operations of our fulfilment partners.  Following the easing of these restrictions, international e-commerce sales have returned to the growth levels experienced in the first nine months of the year.

International wholesale decreased by 21.3% (22.8% in constant currency), with many of our international wholesale partners closing stores in response to COVID-19 earlier than in the UK and adjusting their purchasing accordingly.

 

£million

Period ended

Increase / (decrease)

Share of Group revenue

31 May 2020

26 May 2019

FY20

FY19

UK

£161.3

£182.9

(11.7)%

84.5%

83.9%

International

£29.5

£35.1

(15.8)%

15.5%

16.1%

Total

£190.8

£218.0

(12.5)%

100.0%

100.0%

 

GROSS MARGIN                                 

Gross margin at 50.7% was 4.1% points lower than the prior year, impacted by an increased mix of e-commerce and US wholesale sales and a higher than usual level of Q4 promotional activity and wholesale discounts.

 

Retail gross margin of 56.9% was 3.7% points lower than the prior year, impacted by the increased mix of e-commerce sales (with stores closed for most of Q4), which have a lower gross margin than store sales.  There was a higher level of promotional activity to drive customer demand in the final quarter and, as reported at the half year, we also saw an increased level of customer participation in core annual promotional events.

 

Wholesale gross margin of 27.1% was 10.0% points lower than the prior year, as a result of an increased mix of US wholesale as a proportion of total wholesale sales and the provision for a higher than usual level of returns and wholesale customer discounts in the final quarter of the year.

 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

Total administrative expenses before exceptional costs decreased by 6.9% to £98.9 million (FY19: £106.3m).

Prior to the impact of IFRS16 - Leases, operating expenses (being administrative expenses excluding share-based compensation and depreciation & amortisation) decreased by 4.0% to £92.0 million (FY19: £95.9m). 

 

The final quarter of the Period benefitted from lower costs related to COVID-19, including: management's cost reduction actions; lower variable costs linked to reduced sales activity; and, UK Government support initiatives, including business rates relief and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).  These government support initiatives improved Q4 costs by approximately £3.0 million.

 

As referenced above, the Group incurred non-recurring costs of £2.4 million in relation to the UK and US distribution centre transformation programmes and the write-off of wholesale receivables due to COVID-19.  Of the total non-recurring cost £2.0 million is within operating costs and £0.4 million in Cost of Sales.

 

 

FY20

FY19

£million

Pre-IFRS16

IFRS16 impact

Reported

Reported

Operating expenses

92.0

(12.2)

79.8

95.9

Share-based compensation

(0.4)

-

(0.4)

2.6

Depreciation & amortisation

6.8

12.6

19.5

7.8

Administrative expenses (before exceptional costs)

98.5

0.4

98.9

106.3

Exceptional costs

 

 

21.5

-

Administrative expenses

 

 

120.4

106.3

 

 

Sales costs decreased by 8.2% to £12.2 million (FY19: £13.3m).  Sales costs reflect commissions due to third-party retail concession partners and wholesale sales agents.  The decline in the year is a result of lower third-party retail sales in the final quarter.

 

Marketing costs decreased by 2.7% to £9.3 million (FY19: £9.5m).  For the first three-quarters of the year, we increased digital marketing investment by nearly 30%, focused on new customer acquisition, customer retention and social media in the UK and target international markets, the results of which are reflected in the strong e-commerce performance and customer and brand metrics.  In the final quarter, we reduced all channel marketing and new customer acquisition spend.

 

Store costs decreased by 11.7% in the year to £27.9 million (FY19: £31.6m).  For the first three quarters of the year store costs were broadly level with the prior year, reflecting strong cost control and the initial benefit of reduced store rents realised through our ongoing store portfolio management programme.  In the final two months of the Period, a large proportion of store costs were offset by the CJRS and business rates relief. 

 

Distribution costs increased by 19.1% in the year to £9.9 million (FY19: £8.4m).  Excluding non-recurring costs, distribution costs were level with the prior year, with the growth in UK e-commerce being offset by the reduction in activity to support other sales channels through the final quarter of the year. 

 

In the second half of the Period we completed the outsourcing of our UK distribution centre to Clipper Logistics plc and, in the US, we moved our wholesale distribution centre from a third-party in New Jersey, to a new provider based in Georgia.  These initiatives incurred non-recurring costs of £1.3 million in the Period. The completion of the distribution centre transformation initiatives in the UK and the US will provide the Group with a robust, well invested and efficient logistics platform that is anticipated to support future growth over, at least the next five years, with both improved customer service levels and unit cost economics.

 

Head Office costs decreased by 1.1% in the year to £32.7 million (FY19: £33.1m).  In the first three quarters of the year, costs increased by 4.1% against the comparable period, a slower rate of growth relative to prior years as we realised benefits from historic investments in Head Office functions and teams whilst continuing to invest in areas of strategic growth including creative, design, digital and e-commerce. The final two months of the year saw a temporary reduction in Head Office costs following management's COVID-19 actions and the benefit from the UK Government's CJRS.

 

Depreciation & amortisation (excluding IFRS16) decreased to £6.8 million (FY19: £7.8m), with higher amortisation charge due to the ERP platform completed in the prior period and a new store point-of-sale solution completed in the Period being more than offset by several stores being fully depreciated and lower levels of capital expenditure.   Depreciation of the IFRS16 right of use asset was £12.6 million (FY19: na).

 

IFRS16 - Leases net impact on administrative expenses of £0.4 million (FY19: na) comprising of the right of use asset depreciation charge of £12.6 million partly offset by the exclusion of rent expense of £12.2 million in the Period.

 

NET FINANCE COSTS

 

Net finance costs were £1.8 million (FY19: £0.3m).  Net finance costs comprise interest on lease liabilities £1.4 million (FY19: £nil) following the Group's adoption of IFRS16 - Leases, and interest and facility charges of £0.4 million (FY19: £0.3m) on the Group's revolving credit facility and term loan with Barclays Bank PLC.   

 

TAXATION

 

The Group recognised a tax credit of £4.6 million in the Period (FY19: £2.7m charge), reflecting the Group's loss in the Period. The effective tax rate for the Period was 17.8% (FY19: 21.0%), which was lower than the applicable UK corporation tax rate largely due to the net deduction in respect of share-based compensation and the impact of recalculating deferred tax balances (following the UK tax rate being maintained at 19%, reversing the previously enacted change from 19% to 17% from April 2020) net of non-deductible expenditure and fixed asset timing differences.

 

EARNINGS PER SHARE

 

Statutory basic earnings per share for the Period, were (23.7) pence (FY19: 11.6 pence).  The weighted number of shares in the Period were 93.8 million (FY19: 87.7 million).  The increase in the Period resulting from shares issued to employees of the Group as share plans vested and the equity placing completed in the final quarter of the Period.

 

EQUITY PLACING

 

On 3 April 2020 the Company announced the completion of an equity placing, conducted by way of an accelerated bookbuild, to provide the Company with additional liquidity in response to the impact of COVID-19.

A total of 18,750,000 new ordinary shares of 1 pence each were placed at a price of 80 pence per share, raising £15.0 million gross proceeds.  Following admission of the placing shares, the Company's issued and fully paid share capital consisted of 108,135,920 ordinary shares.   

 

 

 

CASH FLOW         

 

Free cash flow, excluding expenditure on the new Head Office development, was £5.0 million inflow in the period (FY19: £8.6m inflow).  

 

 £million

FY20

FY19

 

EBITDA - before exceptional costs*

17.4 

20.9 

 

Share-based compensation

(0.4)

2.6

 

Net working capital - change 

(2.4)

(1.2)

 

Cash exceptional costs

(0.5)

-

 

 

14.1

22.3

 

Bank interest paid

(0.4)

(0.3)

 

Lease interest paid (IFRS16)

(1.4)

-

 

Tax paid 

(0.9)

(2.9)

 

Cash from operating activities

11.4

19.1

 

Capital expenditure - core 

(6.4)

(10.5)

 

Free cash flow (core capex) 

5.0

8.6

 

Capital expenditure - new Head Office 

(7.3)

(1.0)

 

Free cash flow 

(2.3)

7.6

 

Net cash from financing

12.4  

(0.4)

 

Net cash flow

10.1

7.2

 

 

 

 

 

Memo: Total Capital expenditure

(13.7)

(11.5)

 

 

*See summary Income Statement above for reconciliation of this non-GAAP measure

 

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

Core capital expenditure in the Period was £6.4 million (FY19: £10.5m).  Major areas of capital expenditure included the new store point-of-sale system, the development and launch of the 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace and developments to our e-commerce platform. 

The Group's new Head Office development incurred spend of £7.3 million in the Period (FY19: £1.0m) with cumulative spend to date of £13.8 million, including £4.4 million for the purchase of the land.  The timing for completion has been extended to early 2021 and the total investment reduced following actions undertaken to respond to COVID-19. The new building will enable a collaborative working environment and facilitate remote working to a significantly greater degree than our current offices.  On completion, the Group will vacate all leased Head Office space in Market Harborough and consolidate its separately leased showroom space.

 

INVENTORY

Inventory at the end of the Period was £35.3 million (FY19: £35.9m).  

In response to COVID-19, the Group, working collaboratively with its suppliers, took actions to reduce and rephase stock purchase commitments for the current season (Spring/Summer 20) and the subsequent season (Autumn/Winter 20).  These actions, combined with better than anticipated trading in the final quarter of the year, relative to management's COVID-19 downside scenario, enabled the Group to end the Period with a lower than anticipated inventory balance.  

 

DIVIDEND  

 

Following the actions taken to preserve cash in the light of COVID-19, that included the deferral of payments due to HMRC and landlords, and with continued uncertainty on the speed of recovery for many of the Group's sales channels, the Board is not proposing a dividend for FY20 (FY19: 2.1 pence per share). The Board will keep this position under review.

 

FINANCING FACILITIES AND LIQUIDITY

At the end of the Period the Group had total available facilities of £48.0 million, of which £21.7 million was drawn.

Facility

Available Facility

Drawn Facility

Maturity

£million

31-May-20

31-May-20

Revolving Credit Facility (RCF1)

25.0

12.7

Jul-22

  Duty bond (linked to RCF1)

(1.0)

-

 

Revolving Credit Facility (RCF2)

15.0

-

Apr-21

Term Loan

9.0

9.0

Dec-23

Total facilities / borrowings

48.0

21.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Group has a £25 million Revolving Credit Facility (RCF1) provided by Barclays Bank PLC ('Barclays') to fund seasonal working capital requirements.  This facility matures in July 2022.  In April 2020, the Group established another Revolving Credit Facility (RCF2), also with Barclays, to provide additional financial headroom through to April 2021.

 

The development of the Group's new Head Office is being funded, in part, by way of a £9.5 million loan from Barclays.  The loan is repayable by way of quarterly payments of £264,000 and a final bullet payment in December 2023.  In April 2020, the Group agreed the deferral of the subsequent four quarterly repayments, with the deferred amounts added to the final bullet payment.

 

NET CASH/(DEBT) AND LIQUIDITY

 

Net cash at the end of the Period was £4.5 million (FY19: £5.8m).   Cash balances were £26.2 million (FY19: £16.0m) and Group borrowings were £21.7 million (FY19: £10.2m).  

 

The Group's total liquidity headroom at 31 May 2020 was £52.5 million, comprising £26.2 million cash balances and £26.3 million undrawn committed financing facilities.

 

To preserve cash and improve the short-term liquidity position in response to COVID-19, the Group agreed the deferral of certain liabilities falling due in the final quarter of the financial year with HMRC and with landlords.  At 31 May 2020 the total amount deferred under these arrangements was £6.7 million (FY19: £nil).   The Directors anticipate that these amounts will be repaid over the period to May 2021.   

 

BREXIT

The Group is preparing for a 'hard Brexit' scenario as the UK leaves the European Union's single market and customs union at the end of 2020.  The Group's Brexit task force has been established and several steps have been taken to mitigate the potential for adverse impact on the Group including AEO certification and establishing the primary UK logistics facility as a bonded warehouse.   Notwithstanding these mitigating actions, the Group's wholesale and e-commerce sales into the European Union could face a period of operational disruption and potentially increased costs as a consequence of a hard Brexit.

 

GOING CONCERN

As for many businesses in the retail sector, the Group has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.  The impact and management's initial response is set out in detail within the CEO's report and the Financial Review. 

Considering the significant uncertainties faced by the retail sector, including short-term and potentially more fundamental long-term changes in consumer behaviour as well as the potential for ongoing operational disruption, the Directors have undertaken a comprehensive assessment to consider the going concern and longer-term viability of the Group and Company.  In making their assessment the Directors have considered the following:

 

-     The Group's financial position, as at the date of this report, and its committed borrowing facilities available for the time period under consideration

-     The support from the Group's shareholders and bank, including the successful equity placing and financing facility extension that were completed during the early stages of the UK lockdown

-     Alternative sources of financing, including sale & leaseback of freehold property and asset financing that might reasonably be assumed to be available to the Group - noting that any financing from these sources has not been included within the forecasts that support the going concern assessment

-     Financial commitments, including capital commitments, lease commitments, stock purchases and other non-variable/non-discretionary costs.  In respect of property leases, the Directors note the relatively short lease commitments, of less than three years on average, that the Group has across its store portfolio together with recent progress on renewing leases on favourable terms

-     The extent of continued Government support initiatives including business rates relief and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

-     Strength of brand, reflected in active customer growth, brand awareness and brand health metrics - as detailed more fully in the Strategic Review

-     The flexibility and agility of the Group's business model, as described in the Strategic Review, noting that over half of the Group's retail sales are via e-commerce and that the Group has diversified sources of revenue, operating across several channels and geographic markets, with owned and third-party channels including wholesale and marketplaces.  Newer income streams of brand licensing and the Group's digital marketplace provide additional comfort on the strength of the brand and diversity of income channels

 

The Directors have also considered the trading performance of the Group's stores as they have re-opened on a phased basis following the easing of the UK's lockdown restrictions on 15 June 2020, as well as the performance of the Group's e-commerce channel, which has continued to exceed management's expectations since the start of the UK lockdown.

 

The Directors have reviewed management's business plan forecasts that cover the period to 28 May 2023, being the Group's strategic plan horizon.  The forecasts have been produced on the following basis:

-     Base plan - gradual sales recovery post-COVID-19, reflecting management's estimates for the speed and extent of recovery across its different sales channels and markets.  It reflects phased store re-openings from mid-June 2020 through to mid-August 2020 with the re-opened stores initially trading significantly below the prior year, improving to 75-80% of the prior year's sales level by the end of FY21, with modest growth thereafter.  Third-party wholesale channels are assumed to follow a similar trajectory, with sales into the European Union also reflecting potential disruption arising ahead of and following the end of the Brexit transition period.  The Group's e-commerce sales are forecast to grow at double-digit levels reflecting performance over recent years and experienced since the UK lockdown in late March 2020

-     Downside scenario - the 'Base plan' adjusted to reflect a slower recovery of the Group's stores channel with total store revenues only achieving approximately 60% of the pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of FY21, and a deterioration in the wholesale channel receipts with receivable days more than double the level of FY20.

 

Within each forecast, management have reflected financial commitments and the impact of realised or anticipated cost savings from discretionary and variable costs.  No Government support or subsidies, other than those announced and committed at the date of this report, are included.

 

The Directors have stress tested the forecast to consider situations under which the Company would have insufficient liquidity under its current secured borrowing facilities and/or it would not meet its banking covenant tests.   One such 'Stress test scenario' is that of ongoing material disruption to retail store operations from COVID-19 that result in no store channel revenue going forward and lower receipts from the Group's wholesale channels as per the Downside case.  The Stress test scenario assumes higher e-commerce revenue growth than the Base case on the basis that loyal customers can no longer access the brand via the store environment - as demonstrated during the period of the UK lockdown, plus ongoing income from brand licensing and digital marketplace activities.  The Stress test scenario assumes that the Group will reduce its obligations and financial commitments, such as property leases, in line with existing contractual terms and that there is no additional Government support or subsidies to offset costs or support cash flow.   The Directors believe, with reference to the considerations noted above, that, firstly the likelihood of this situation arising in its most extreme form is remote and, secondly, that they anticipate that the Group would be able to adapt and respond to mitigate the impacts and continue to trade and meet its obligations through the period of consideration.

 

Going concern

The Base plan and Downside scenario forecasts indicate that the Group will remain within its available committed borrowing facilities and in compliance with covenants throughout the forthcoming 12-month period.  Under the Downside scenario, the Group has more than £25 million available liquidity headroom through-out the period under consideration and has EBITDA headroom of £2.9 million against its first covenant test arising in the period with headroom increasing further for the second covenant test arising in the period.

 

The Group would also remain within its borrowing facilities and comply with covenants under the Stress test through this period.

 

Following consideration of these forecasts and having made appropriate enquiries, the Directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence until at least 12 months after the approval of the Financial Statements. Therefore, the Directors continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

 

PRINCIPAL RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES

 

Set out below are the principal risks and uncertainties that the Directors consider could impact the business. The Board regularly reviews the potential risks facing the Group and the controls in place to mitigate any potential adverse impacts. The Board also recognises that the nature and scope of risks can change and that there may be other risks to which the Group is exposed and so the list is not intended to be exhaustive.

 

The Corporate Governance Report includes an overview of our approach to risk management and internal control systems and processes.

 

EXTERNAL RISKS

 

External risks reflect those risks where we are unable to influence the likelihood of the risk arising and therefore focus is on minimising the impact should the risk arise.

 

Risk and impact

Mitigating factors

Global / regional pandemic (i.e. COVID-19)
As the current global pandemic COVID-19 has shown, the implications of such an event are extreme, sudden and are challenging to mitigate.  The impacts of a global (or regional) pandemic include:

-       Supply chain disruption - supplier factory closures and freight disruption

-       Customer demand reduction - General consumer mobility restrictions exacerbated by enforced store closures and/or in-store restrictions

-       Supplier impact - increased risks of failure of key suppliers

-       Employee - health and wellbeing implications plus restrictions on ability to undertake day to day operations

-       Management decision making - potential to be impacted if several members of the senior leadership team were to become incapacitated.

 

 

 

Our response to mitigate the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 are detailed within the Strategic Update and Financial Review.

 

As evidence by COVID-19, mitigation of the impacts of a global pandemic is very challenging.   To navigate the challenges and mitigate the potential adverse impacts on the Group, we have the following established:

 

-       Business Continuity task force, with delegated decision-making authority, established to rapidly respond to crisis situations

-      Well invested, modern IT infrastructure to support remote and agile working

-      Short lease terms across store portfolio mitigating adverse financial impact of customer demand reduction

-      Outsourced UK distribution centre operations to Clipper Logistics plc providing access to their disaster recovery capability and capacity

 

The following elements are in progress or under evaluation to provide potential further mitigation:

-      Geographic diversification of product supplier base

 

Economy

The majority of the Group's revenue is generated from sales in the UK to UK customers.  A deterioration in the UK economy may adversely impact consumer confidence and spending on discretionary items.  A reduction in consumer expenditure could materially and adversely affect the Group's financial condition, operations and business prospects.

Two current factors, COVID-19 and Brexit, are increasing the likelihood and impact of this risk.

 

 

As a premium lifestyle brand with a strong e-commerce channel, a geographically disperse retail store portfolio and long-standing wholesale customer accounts, the Directors consider that the UK business would be less affected by a reduction in consumer expenditure than many other clothing retailers.

In addition, the property portfolio has short lease terms, providing relative flexibility to close or relocate stores should this become necessary.

Competitor actions

New competitors or existing clothing retailers or lifestyle brands may target our segment of the market. Existing competitors may increase their level of discounting or promotions and/or expand their presence in new channels.  These actions

could adversely impact our sales and profits.
 

 

Joules differentiates from competitors through its strong brand and products that are known for their quality, details, colour and prints.  Our large customer database allows the Group to communicate effectively with customers, developing customer engagement and loyalty.

Foreign Exchange

The Group purchases the majority of its product inventory from overseas and is therefore exposed to foreign currency risk, primarily the US Dollar.

Without mitigation, input costs may fluctuate in the short term, creating uncertainty as to profits and cash flows.

Brexit has increased volatility in this area that may be sustained or worsen going forward.

 

The Group's Treasury Policy sets out the parameters and procedures relating to foreign currency hedging. We currently seek to hedge a material proportion of forecasted US Dollar requirement 12-24 months ahead using forward contracts.

 

The Group's US wholesale business generates US Dollar cash flows which provide a degree of natural hedging.

Regulatory and Political

New regulations or compliance requirements may be introduced from time to time. These may have a material impact on the cost base or operational complexity of the business. Non-compliance with the regulation could result in financial penalties.

Recent and on-going US/China trade negotiations with the threat of additional US tariffs on China manufactured products, as well as the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, have increased the risk and uncertainty in this area.

 

The Group has processes in place to monitor and report to the Board on new regulations and compliance requirements that could have an impact on the business.  The impact of any new regulation is evaluated and reflected in the Group's financial forecasts and planning.

The Group is carefully monitoring the development of US/China trade negotiations and plans for alternative sourcing strategies are being reviewed to mitigate against increases in US tariffs on China manufactured products.

 

Brexit

The on-going potential exit of the UK from the EU adds complexity and uncertainty across many areas of the Group's operations that could impact on our ability to get products to customers in a timely manner and on product profit margins.

A so-called "no deal" Brexit, whereby there is no free trade agreement between the UK and the EU, is likely to exacerbate potential impacts on the Group.

 

Specific risk areas that could be impacted by Brexit are as follows:

-       Political uncertainty:  The level of economic and consumer uncertainty has increased due to the lack of clarity around the UK's exit from the EU. 

 

-       Changes in customs duty and VAT regimes:  It is likely that goods being imported to and exported from the EU will be subject to a different duty and VAT regime, which may result in increased costs to the Group.
Additional paperwork and administration is likely to be required in order to move product in to and out of both the UK and the EU.

-       Supply chain delays:  Additional customs procedures may result in delays to both inbound and outbound movements of goods, particularly if the UK withdraws from the EU with no free trade agreement.  This could adversely affect our supply chain and our ability to supply our wholesale customer base.

 

 

-       Employment of EU nationals:  EU nationals living in the UK may no longer have automatic rights to remain working in the UK.  This could restrict the Group's ability to retain and recruit appropriate talent.

 

-       Foreign exchange fluctuations:  The Group's exposure to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, in particular the strength of Sterling relative to the US Dollar, is increased as a result of the impact of Brexit.

 

-       Regulation and compliance:  The regulatory regime applicable to the manufacture and sale of products may increase in complexity if the UK adopts a different framework from the current EU based legislation.

 

-       Contractual and procurement arrangements:  Commercial terms and contractual arrangements may be adversely impacted by Brexit.

 

The continuing lack of clarity on the nature and timing of the post-Brexit arrangements make it challenging to plan mitigation strategies effectively.  A Brexit 'task force' has been established to monitor and evaluate the potential impacts of different scenarios and to implement mitigations.  Contingency planning by the task force has been focussed on preparing for a "no deal" Brexit with input from external advisors as appropriate.


Mitigating steps taken:

-       Political uncertainty:   A detailed review of the business has highlighted areas that would most likely be impacted by Brexit. 

 

-       Changes in customs duty and VAT regimes:  An assessment of the Group's operations has been undertaken to identify additional costs. 
Paperwork (e.g. commercial invoices) has been automated to improve efficiency where possible.
Supply chain delays:  In the short term, we will be seeking to expedite delivery of products into the EU ahead of the UK's withdrawal.

The business has achieved Authorised Economic Operator status and has implemented Customs bonded status for the Group's main UK distribution centre which would further mitigate adverse duty impacts and supply chain delays.

 

-       Employment of EU nationals:  All EU nationals working for the Group have been consulted on the implications of Brexit and support with applying for settled status has been provided.

 

-       Foreign exchange fluctuations: As noted above the Group seeks to hedge a material proportion of forecasted US Dollar requirement 12-24 months ahead using forward contracts.

 

-       Regulation and compliance:  On-going legal advice is being taken in this area to ensure continued compliance with relevant UK and EU regulations.

 

 

-       Contractual and procurement arrangements:  A detailed review of all relevant key contracts and service agreements has been undertaken to ensure the Group's commercial exposure is mitigated.  Where appropriate new contracts are incorporating Brexit clauses.

 

 

 

INTERNAL RISKS

 

Internal risks reflect those where we can influence the likelihood of the risk arising and the impact should the risk arise.

 

Risk and Impact

Mitigating factors

Brand and reputation

The strength of our brand and its reputation are very important to the success of the Group.

Failure to protect and manage this could reduce the confidence and trust that customers place in the business, which could have a detrimental impact on sales, profits and business prospects. Our brand may be undermined or damaged by our actions or those of our partners or through infringement of our intellectual property (IP).

 

Brand and reputation are monitored closely by senior management and the Board.  The Group's public relations are actively managed and customer feedback, both direct and indirect, is carefully monitored.

We carefully consider each new trade customer with whom we do business and monitor on an ongoing basis.

We actively monitor for potential IP infringements and have a process to determine the appropriate course of action to protect our brand and IP vigorously.

Product sourcing

The Group's products are predominantly manufactured overseas.  Failure to carry out sufficient due diligence and to act in the event of any negative findings, especially in relation to ethical or quality related issues, could adversely impact our brand and reputation.

 

The Group has a policy and process for the selection of new suppliers.  This includes a review of compliance with laws and regulations and that suppliers meet generally accepted standards of good practice.  In addition, suppliers are required to sign up to the Joules code of conduct.

The Group operates a programme of ethical audits across the product supply base supported by a third-party agency.

Design

As with all clothing and lifestyle brands there is a risk that our offer will not satisfy the needs of our customers or that we fail to correctly identify trends that are important to our customer base.  These outcomes may result in lower sales, excess inventories and/or higher markdowns.

 

Joules has a long established in-house creative and design team who have a high level of awareness and understanding of our target customer segment.  A large proportion of our product range is anchored in classic products that are evolved season to season.

Early feedback from our trade customers can allow us to further refine our product range ahead of significant purchase commitments.

Key management

Our business performance is linked to the performance of our people and to the leadership of key individuals.   The loss of a key individual whether at management level or within a specialist skill set could have a detrimental effect on our operations and, in some cases, the creative vision for the brand.

 

The Group's remuneration policy, which includes a long-term incentive scheme and performance-related pay, is designed to attract and retain key management. The Group operates learning and development programmes to increase the opportunities for internal succession.

 

The Board's approach to the recruitment of Nick Jones as Chief Executive Officer and transition in the run up to Colin Porter's retirement illustrates the procedures the Board has in place for ensuring continuity of key personnel.

IT security and systems availability

Non-availability of the Group's IT systems, including the e-commerce websites, for a prolonged period  could result in business disruption, loss of sales and reputational damage.

Malicious attacks, data breaches or viruses could

lead to business interruption and reputational damage.

 

A business continuity plan exists to minimise the impact of a loss of key systems and to recover the use of the system and associated data.

A regular assessment of vulnerability to malicious attacks is performed and any weaknesses rectified.  All Group employees are made aware of the Group's IT security

policies and we deploy a suite of tools (email filtering, antivirus etc.) to protect against such events.

 

 

Supply chain

The disruption to any material element of the Group's supply chain, in particular the UK central distribution centre (DC), could impact sales and impact on our ability to supply our consumers, stores and wholesale customers.

 

The Group outsourced its UK DC operations to Clipper Logistics plc (Clipper) in the Period, this provides access to Clippers business continuity arrangements in the event of the loss of the UK distribution centre. 

In addition, the Group maintains insurance cover at an appropriate level to protect against the impact of

such an interruption.

 

 

 

 

 

CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT

JOULES GROUP PLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note

 

 

53 weeks ended

31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended

26 May

2019

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVENUE

3

 

 

190,808

217,970

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of sales

4

 

 

(93,997)

(98,583)

 

 

 

 

 

 

GROSS PROFIT

 

 

 

96,811

119,387

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other administrative expenses

4

 

 

(99,273)

(103,665)

Share-based compensation

14

 

 

371

(2,616)

Exceptional administrative expenses

2

 

 

(21,480)

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total administrative expenses

 

 

 

(120,382)

(106,281)

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING (LOSS)/PROFIT

 

 

 

(23,571)

13,106

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finance costs

5

 

 

(1,774)

(251)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(LOSS)/PROFIT BEFORE TAX

 

 

 

(25,345)

12,855

 

Income tax credit/(expense)

 

6

 

 

 

4,640

 

(2,701)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(LOSS)/PROFIT FOR THE PERIOD

 

 

 

(20,705)

10,154

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic (loss)/earnings per share (pence)

13

 

 

(22.07)

11.57

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted (loss)/earnings per share (pence)

13

 

 

(22.07)

11.32

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

JOULES GROUP PLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

53 weeks

ended

31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks

ended 26

May

2019

£'000

 

(LOSS)/PROFIT FOR THE PERIOD

 

 

(20,705)

10,154

Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:

 

 

 

Net (loss)/gain arising on changes in fair value of hedging instruments entered into for cash flow hedges

 

 

(2,425)

3,378

Gains/(losses) arising during the period on deferred tax on cash flow hedges

 

 

472

(689)

(Losses)/gains arising during the period on deferred tax on share options

 

 

(177)

-

Exchange difference on translation of foreign operations

 

 

732

157

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE PERIOD

 

(22,103)

13,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note on IFRS 16 - Leases:

As previously noted, the modified retrospective transition approach has been adopted by the Group, which is available within the new accounting standard and therefore comparative disclosures have not been restated for the impact of IFRS 16 - Leases, which came into effect for accounting periods commencing after 1 January 2019.

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

JOULES GROUP PLC

 

 

Note

 

 

31 May 2020

£'000

Restated

26 May 2019

£'000

Restated

28 May 2018

£'000

NON-CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

7

 

20,547

17,245

18,049

Intangibles

8

 

20,507

16,862

12,614

Right-of-use assets

9

 

31,993

-

-

Deferred tax

 

 

3,135

958

1,148

Derivative financial instruments

 

 

383

-

428

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL NON-CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

76,565

35,065

32,239

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

Inventories

 

 

32,938

35,311

32,795

Right of return asset

 

 

2,364

615

429

Trade and other receivables

 

 

9,226

17,763

16,166

Current corporation tax receivable

 

 

2,099

-

-

Cash and cash equivalents

11

 

26,243

16,013

8,571

Derivative financial instruments

 

 

928

3,320

910

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS

 

 

73,798

73,022

58,871

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL ASSETS

 

 

150,363

108,087

91,110

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

 

 

31,678

43,241

40,636

Lease liabilities

9

 

11,047

-

-

Current corporation tax payable

 

 

-

1,612

1,355

Borrowings

11

 

12,924

6,769

5,559

Provisions

 

 

2,368

247

264

Right of return provision

 

 

5,129

1,548

1,196

Derivative financial instruments

 

 

-

-

1,680

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

63,146

53,417

50,690

 

 

 

 

 

 

NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

 

 

 

Borrowings

11

 

8,780

3,447

2,972

Lease liabilities

9

 

35,635

-

-

Derivative financial instruments

 

 

473

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES

 

 

44,888

3,447

2,972

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL LIABILITIES

 

 

108,034

56,864

53,662

 

 

 

 

 

 

NET ASSETS

 

 

42,329

51,223

37,448

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQUITIES

 

 

 

 

 

Share capital

 

 

1,081

878

875

Hedging reserve

 

 

999

2,631

(277)

Translation reserve

 

 

1,250

518

361

EBT reserve

 

 

(769)

(322)

-

Merger reserve

 

 

(125,807)

(125,807)

(125,807)

Retained earnings

 

 

139,067

161,915

150,886

Share premium

 

 

26,508

11,410

11,410

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL EQUITY

 

 

42,329

51,223

37,448

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note on prior year restatement: For further details on the restatement of prior year balances, refer to Note 1 - Basis of preparation of preliminary announcement.

 

 

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

JOULES GROUP PLC

 

 


Merger reserve

£'000


Hedging reserve

£'000

 

Translation reserve

£'000

 

EBT reserve

£'000

 

Share capital

£'000


Share premium

£'000


Retained earnings

£'000


Total

 equity

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 27 May 2018 - Restated1

(125,807)

(277)

361

-

875

11,410

150,886

37,448

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the period

-

-

-

-

-

-

10,154

10,154

Other comprehensive income for the period

-

2,689

157

-

-

-

-

2,846

Total Comprehensive income for the period

 

-

 

2,689

 

157

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

10,154

 

13,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basis adjustment to hedged inventory

-

219

-

-

-

-

-

219

EBT share purchases and commitments

-

-

-

(322)

-

-

-

(322)

Dividends issued (note 15)

-

-

-

-

-

-

(1,800)

(1,800)

Shares issued

-

-

-

-

3

-

(3)

-

Credit to equity for equity-settled share-based compensation excl. NI

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

-

 

 

2,678

 

 

2,678

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 26 May 2019 - Restated1

(125,807)

2,631

518

(322)

878

11,410

161,915

51,223

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effect of initial adoption of IFRS 16

-

-

-

-

-

-

170

170

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance as at 26 May 2019 - Restated

(125,807)

2,631

518

(322)

878

11,410

162,085

51,393

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Loss) for the period

-

 -

 -

 -

 -

-

(20,705)

(20,705)

Other comprehensive income for the period

-

(1,953)

732

-

-

-

(177)

(1,398)

Total Comprehensive income for the period

 

-

(1,953)

732

-

-

-

(20,882)

(22,103)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basis adjustment to hedged inventory

-

321

-

-

-

-

-

321

EBT share purchases and commitments

-

-

-

(1,171)

-

-

-

(1,171)

Share-based compensation options satisfied through the EBT reserve

-

-

-

724

-

-

(349)

375

Shares issued

-

-

-

-

203

15,098

-

15,301

Dividends issued (note 15)

-

-

-

-

-

-

(1,202)

(1,202)

Debit to equity for equity-settled share-based compensation excl. NI

-

-

-

-

-

-

(267)

(267)

Debit to equity for cash paid on net-settled withheld share-based compensation

-

-

-

-

-

-

(318)

(318)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 31 May 2020

(125,807)

999

1,250

(769)

1,081

26,508

139,067

42,329

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOW STATEMENT

JOULES GROUP PLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note

53 weeks ended 31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended 26 May

2019

£'000

Cash generated from operations

 

 

 

(Loss)/Profit for the period

 

(20,705)

10,154

Adjustments for:

 

 

 

Depreciation of property, plant and equipment

7

3,018

5,126

Depreciation of right-of use assets

9

12,645

-

Amortisation

8

3,803

2,672

Exceptional administrative expenses

2

20,976

-

Share-based compensation

14

(371)

2,616

Finance cost expense

5

1,774

251

Income tax (credit)/expense

6

(4,640)

2,701

 

 

 

 

Operating cash flows before movements in working capital

 

16,500

23,520

 

 

 

 

Decrease/(Increase) in inventory and right of return asset

 

624

(2,702)

Decrease/(Increase) in receivables

 

8,537

(1,597)

(Decrease)/Increase in payables and right of return provision

 

(11,573)

3,125

 

 

 

 

Cash generated by operations

 

14,088

22,346

 

 

 

 

Bank interest paid

 

(366)

(270)

Interest paid on lease liabilities

9

(1,408)

-

Tax paid

 

(931)

(2,936)

 

 

 

 

Net cash from operating activities

 

11,383

19,140

 

 

 

 

Cash flow from investing activities

 

 

 

Purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets

7/8

(13,686)

(11,502)

 

 

 

 

Net cash from investing activities

 

(13,686)

(11,502)

 

 

 

 

Cash flow from financing activities

 

 

 

Purchase of EBT shares

 

(1,171)

(322)

Issue of shares

 

15,570

-

Capital element of lease repayments

9

(12,306)

-

Repayment of borrowings

11

(348)

(449)

Proceeds from borrowings

11

11,850

2,134

Dividend paid

15

(1,202)

(1,800)

 

 

 

 

Net cash from financing activities

 

12,393

(437)

 

 

 

 

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

10,090

7,201

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

 

16,013

8,571

Effect of foreign exchange rate changes

 

140

241

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

 

26,243

16,013

 

 

 

                

 

 

 

NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

1.1.          BASIS OF PREPARATION OF PRELIMINARY ANNOUCEMENT

 

The preliminary consolidated financial information for the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020 was approved by the Directors on 5 August 2020.

This preliminary consolidated financial information has been prepared in accordance with the principles of International Financial Reporting Standards ('IFRS') as adopted by the EU and has been prepared on a going concern basis. The preliminary consolidated financial information does not constitute statutory consolidated financial statements for the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020 as defined in section 434 of the Companies Act 2006 but is derived from those financial statements.

The Annual Report and Group Financial Statements for the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020 are the fifth for Joules Group plc and were approved by the Board of Directors on 5 August 2020. The report of the auditor on those Group Financial Statements was unqualified, did not contain an emphasis of matter paragraph and did not contain any statement under section 498 of the Companies Act 2006. The Annual Report and Group Financial Statements for the 52 weeks ended 31 May 2020 will be filed with the Registrar in due course. The auditors have consented to the publication of the Preliminary Announcement.

 

Application of new and revised International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs)

With the exception of IFRS 16, which has been incorporated in to these financial statements, there have been no new IFRSs adopted in the current year which have materially impacted the Group's financial statements.

IFRS 16 - Leases Overview

 

This is the first set of the Group's financial statements where IFRS 16 - Leases has been applied. The impact of adopting IFRS 16 - Leases is material to the financial statements and is described below, with the financial impact being set out in the table below.

 

The standard is effective for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2019. Under the new standard, the distinction between operating and finance leases is removed and most leases will be brought onto the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position, as both a right-of-use asset and a corresponding lease liability.

 

The Group has used the modified retrospective transitional approach on adoption of IFRS 16 - Leases which means that the right-of-use asset and the lease liability are brought onto the Statement of Financial Position at the discounted amount applicable at the transition date, which is 27 May 2019. Operating leases that were active at 27 May 2019 and beyond have been incorporated into the results for the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020.

 

The right-of-use asset has been depreciated in accordance with IAS 16 "Property, Plant and Equipment" and in line with the Group's existing policies (straight-line over the lease term), whilst the lease liability has been increased for the accumulation of interest and reduced by lease payments. There has been no impact on cash flow overall, however, classifications within the Consolidated Cash Flow Statement have changed to reflect the interest and capital elements of each lease payment.

 

When applying IFRS 16 - Leases, the Group has applied the following practical expedients, on transition date:

 

·      Reliance on the previous identification of a lease (as provided by IAS 17) for all contracts that existed on the date of initial application;

·      The accounting for operating leases with a remaining lease term of less than 12 months as at 27 May 2019 as short-term leases, therefore will continue to be expensed to the Consolidated Income Statement; and

·      The use of hindsight when determining the lease term if the contract contains options to extend or terminate the lease.

 

 

 

   A reconciliation between IAS 17 operating lease commitments and IFRS 16 lease liabilities is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

Operating lease commitments at 26 May 2019

 

 

65,625

Effect of discounting1

 

 

 

(8,918)

Short term leases2

 

 

(330)

Lease liabilities recognised on adoption of IFRS 16

 

 

56,377

 

 

The impact of IFRS 16 on the Statement of Financial Position at the transition date is as follows:

 

 

27 May 2019

Pre-IFRS16

£'000

Transition

£'000

27 May 2019

Post-IFRS16

£'000

 

 

 

 

Non-current assets

35,065

58,666

93,731

Current assets

73,022

(1,316)

71,706

Total assets

108,087

57,350

165,437

Current liabilities

53,417

13,713

 

                                     67,130

Non-current liabilities

3,447

43,467

46,914

Total liabilities

56,864

57,180

114,044

 

 

 

 

Net assets

51,223

170

51,393

 

 

 

 

Total equity

51,223

170

51,393

 

IFRS 16 - Leases Policy

 

The Group leases its stores and offices where it operates, with the exception of the new Head Office development of which the Group owns the freehold land and building development. Other lease contracts include office equipment and motor vehicles.

 

On entering into a contract, the Group assesses whether a contract is a lease based on whether the contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration.

 

The Group recognises a right-of-use asset and a lease liability on the lease commencement date. The right-of-use asset is initially measured based on the initial amount of the lease liability, adjusting for any lease payments made on or before the commencement date, plus any initial direct costs incurred, less any lease incentives received. The assets are depreciated over the full lease term using the straight-line method. Right-of-use assets are reviewed for indicators of impairment.

 

The lease liability is initially measured at the present value of the lease payments that are outstanding at the commencement date, discounted using the interest rate implicit in the lease, or if that rate cannot be readily determined, the Group's incremental borrowing rate for the same term as the underlying lease. Lease payments included in the measurement of the liability contain fixed payments, break fees where appropriate, less any lease incentives receivable as at the commencement date. Lease modifications result in a remeasurement of the lease liability.

 

Depreciation is recognised under administrative expenses and the interest expense is recognised under finance costs in the Consolidated Income Statement.

 

The Group has elected to use the exemption not to recognise the right-of-use assets and lease liabilities for short-term leases that have a lease term of 12 months or less. The payments associated with these leases are recognised as administrative expenses on a straight-line basis over the lease term, the total amount expensed in the period amounted to £792,000.

Restatement of prior periods' Statements of Financial Position

An adjustment has been made to prior periods' Statements of Financial Positions to accruals and other debtor balances in relation to a prior period error on the treatment of Employer's National Insurance on the Group's share schemes.  Management identified that the liability for share based payments at 1 June 2018 was understated as a result of historical errors in the calculation of the National Insurance liability. In addition, management identified that in the year ended 31 May 2018 the deferred tax calculated on shared based payments had been posted twice in error and credited through both the income statement and equity.  This resulted in a debtor balance being recognised in error which has been corrected by management in the period in which it arose. There is no impact on the prior year's Consolidated Income Statement. The effect on specific financial statement line items within the Consolidated Statements of Financial Position is as follows:

 

26-May-19

28-May-18

 

Reported

Adjustment 

Restated

Reported

Adjustment

Restated

Trade and other receivables

18,053

(290)

17,763

16,456

(290)

16,166

Trade and other payables

(42,613)

(628)

(43,241)

(40,008)

(628)

(40,636)

Retained Earnings

(162,833)

918

(161,915)

(151,804)

918

(150,886)

 

 

 

Exceptional Administrative Expenses

Exceptional Administrative Expenses are those that, in management's judgment, should be disclosed by virtue of their nature or amount.  Exceptional Administrative Expenses will typically include material items that are significant in nature, non-recurring and are important to users in understanding the business.

 

Going concern

As for many businesses in the retail sector, the Group has been significantly impacted by COVID-19.  The impact and management's initial response is set out in detail within the CEO's report and the Financial Review. 

Considering the significant uncertainties faced by the retail sector, including short-term and potentially more fundamental long-term changes in consumer behaviour as well as the potential for ongoing operational disruption, the Directors have undertaken a comprehensive assessment to consider the going concern and longer-term viability of the Group and Company.  In making their assessment the Directors have considered the following:

 

·      The Group's financial position, as at the date of this report, and its committed borrowing facilities available for the time period under consideration

·      The support from the Group's shareholders and bank, including the successful equity placing and financing facility extension that were completed during the early stages of the UK lockdown

·      Alternative sources of financing, including sale & leaseback of freehold property and asset financing that might reasonably be assumed to be available to the Group - noting that any financing from these sources has not been included within the forecasts that support the going concern assessment

·      Financial commitments, including capital commitments, lease commitments, stock purchases and other non-variable/non-discretionary costs.  In respect of property leases, The Directors note the relatively short lease commitments, of less than three years on average, that the Group has across its store portfolio together with recent progress on renewing leases on favourable terms

·      The extent of continued Government support initiatives including business rates relief and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

·      Strength of brand, reflected in active customer growth, brand awareness and brand health metrics - as detailed more fully in the Strategic Review

·      The flexibility and agility of the Group's business model, as described in the Strategic Review, noting that over half of the Group's retail sales are via e-commerce and that the Group has diversified sources of revenue, operating across several channels and geographic markets, with owned and third-party channels including wholesale and marketplaces.  Newer income streams of brand licensing and the Group's digital marketplace provide additional comfort on the strength of the brand and diversity of income channels

 

The Directors have also considered the trading performance of the Group's stores as they have re-opened on a phased basis following the easing of the UK's lockdown restrictions on 15 June 2020, as well as the performance of the Group's e-commerce channel, which has continued to exceed management's expectations since the start of the UK lockdown.

 

The Directors have reviewed management's business plan forecasts that cover the period to 28 May 2023, being the Group's strategic plan horizon.  The forecasts have been produced on the following basis:

·      Base plan - gradual sales recovery post-COVID-19, reflecting management's estimates for the speed and extent of recovery across its different sales channels and markets.  It reflects phased store re-openings from mid-June 2020 through to mid-August 2020 with the re-opened stores initially trading significantly below the prior year, improving to 75-80% of the prior year's sales level by the end of FY21, with modest growth thereafter.  Third-party wholesale channels are assumed to follow a similar trajectory, with sales into the European Union also reflecting potential disruption arising ahead of and following the end of the Brexit transition period.  The Group's e-commerce sales are forecast to grow at double-digit levels reflecting performance over recent years and experienced since the UK lockdown in late March 2020

·      Downside scenario - the 'Base plan' adjusted to reflect a slower recovery of the Group's stores channel with total store revenues only achieving approximately 60% of the pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of FY21, and a deterioration in the wholesale channel receipts with receivable days more than double the level of FY20.

 

Within each forecast, management have reflected financial commitments and the impact of realised or anticipated cost savings from discretionary and variable costs.  No Government support or subsidies, other than those announced and committed at the date of this report, are included.

 

The Directors have stress tested the forecast to consider situations under which the Company would have insufficient liquidity under its current secured borrowing facilities and/or it would not meet its banking covenant tests.   One such 'Stress test scenario' is that of ongoing material disruption to retail store operations from COVID-19 that result in no store channel revenue going forward and lower receipts from the Group's wholesale channels as per the Downside case.  The Stress test scenario assumes higher e-commerce revenue growth than the Base case on the basis that loyal customers can no longer access the brand via the store environment - as demonstrated during the period of the UK lockdown, plus ongoing income from brand licensing and digital marketplace activities.  The Stress test scenario assumes that the Group will reduce its obligations and financial commitments, such as property leases, in line with existing contractual terms and that there is no additional Government support or subsidies to offset costs or support cash flow.   The Directors believe, with reference to the considerations noted above, that, firstly the likelihood of this situation arising in its most extreme form is remote and, secondly, that they anticipate that the Group would be able to adapt and respond to mitigate the impacts and continue to trade and meet its obligations through the period of consideration.

 

The Base plan and Downside scenario forecasts indicate that the Group will remain within its available committed borrowing facilities and in compliance with covenants throughout the forthcoming 12-month period.  Under the Downside scenario, the Group has more than £25 million available liquidity headroom through-out the period under consideration and has EBITDA headroom of £2.9 million against its first covenant test arising in the period with headroom increasing further for the second covenant test arising in the period.

 

The Group would also remain within its borrowing facilities and comply with covenants under the Stress test through this period.

 

Following consideration of these forecasts and having made appropriate enquiries, the Directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence until at least 12 months after the approval of the Financial Statements. Therefore, the Directors continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting in preparing the Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

2.       EXCEPTIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

The exceptional administrative expenses recognised in the period relate to right-of use assets, property plant and equipment, and intangible assets which are impaired, as well as other costs associated with redundancy payments. The total charge recognised in the period can be categorised as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

53 weeks ended 31 May 2020

£'000

 

Stores

Head Office & Showrooms

Other

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impairment of Property, plant and equipment

 

        2,608

                      216

       1,294

         4,118

Impairment of Intangible assets

 

                 -  

                    141

           -  

          141

Impairment of Right-of use assets

 

         13,144

                   3,573

-

       16,717

Other exceptional costs

 

                 -  

                      333

          171

            504

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15,752

                   4,263

       1,465

       21,480

             

 

Store impairments

Retail stores are subject to impairment based on whether current or future events and conditions suggest that their recoverable amount may be less than their carrying value.

The recoverable amount of each store is based on the higher of the value in use and fair value less costs to dispose. As all of the Group's retail stores are leasehold, only the value in use has been considered in each impairment assessment. Value in use is calculated from expected future cash flows using suitable discount rates, management assumptions and estimates on future performance. The carrying value for each store is considered net of the carrying value of any cash contribution received in relation to that store.

For impairment testing purposes, the Group has determined that each store is a separate CGU. Each CGU is tested for impairment if any indicators of impairment have been identified.

The value in use of each CGU is calculated based on the Group's latest budget and forecast cash flows. Cash flows are discounted using the weighted average cost of capital ("WACC") and are modelled for each store through to their lease expiry or break date. No lease extensions have been assumed when forecasting.

As a result of this assessment impairment charges of £13,144,000 and £2,608,000 were recognised in the period against the right-of-use asset and property, plant and equipment respectively for the stores which are impaired.

Other leases and fixed assets

Management have also assessed whether any other lease arrangements show impairment indicators. The development of the Group's new Head Office which is due to be completed in 2020 has resulted in the current Head Office leasehold buildings undergoing an impairment assessment.  An in-depth review of other fixed assets has also been performed to identify any which are intrinsically associated with the current Head Office buildings as well as other locations, and those that have a value in use which is below the carrying value.

The calculation of the net present value of future cash flows is based on the same assumptions for growth rates and expected changes to future cash flows as set out above. The cost of exiting leases as set out in the lease agreement, either at the end of the lease or the lease break date (whichever is shorter), have been considered in the calculation.

Based on the factors set out above, the Group has recognised £3,573,000 relating to other leases and £4,259,000 relating to fixed assets which are impaired. 

Other exceptional costs

During the year one-off charges of £504,000 were incurred relating to restructuring costs.

Any amounts which subsequently become recoverable for which an amount has been recognised as an exceptional expense will be recognised as a gain through exceptional items in the relevant period.

 

3.          SEGMENT REPORTING

The Group has three reportable segments; Retail, Wholesale and Other. For each of the three segments, the Group's chief operating decision maker (the "Board") reviews internal management reports on a monthly basis. Each segment can be summarised as follows:

·      Retail: Retail includes sales and costs relevant to stores, e-commerce, shows and franchises.

·      Wholesale: Wholesale includes sales and costs relevant to the sale of products to other retail businesses or distributors for onward sale to their customer.

·      Other: Other includes income from licencing and the 'Friends of Joules' digital marketplace, central costs and items that are not distinguishable into the segments above.

The accounting policies of the reportable segments are the same as described in note 1. Information regarding the results of each reportable segment is included below. Operating results being earnings before exceptional administrative expenses, share-based compensation, interest and taxation are used to measure performance as management believes that such information is the most relevant in evaluating the performance of certain segments relative to other entities that operate within these industries.

There are no discontinued operations in the period.

 

 

53 WEEKS ENDED 31 MAY 2020

Retail

Wholesale

Other

Total

 

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Revenue

145,898

42,668

2,242

190,808

Cost of sales

(62,880)

(31,117)

-

(93,997)

GROSS PROFIT

83,018

11,551

2,242

96,811

Administration expenses

(42,423)

(12,219)

(25,165)

(79,807)

Depreciation and amortisation

(13,964)

(773)

(4,729)

(19,466)

OPERATING RESULT

26,631

(1,441)

(27,652)

(2,462)

Costs unallocated to segments:

 

 

 

 

Share-based compensation (incl. NI)

 

 

 

371

Exceptional administrative expenses

 

 

 

(21,480)

Finance costs

 

 

 

(1,774)

 

 

 

 

 

LOSS BEFORE TAX

 

 

 

(25,345)

 

 

52 WEEKS ENDED 26 MAY 2019

Retail

Wholesale

Other

Total

 

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

Revenue

159,088

57,088

1,794

217,970

Cost of sales

(62,682)

(35,901)

-

(98,583)

GROSS PROFIT

96,406

21,187

1,794

119,387

Administration expenses

(56,350)

(11,963)

(27,554)

(95,867)

Depreciation and amortisation

(4,390)

(663)

(2,745)

(7,798)

OPERATING RESULT

35,666

8,561

(28,505)

15,722

Costs unallocated to segments:

 

 

 

 

Share-based compensation (incl. NI)

 

 

 

(2,616)

Finance costs

 

 

 

(251)

 

 

 

 

 

PROFIT BEFORE TAX

 

 

 

12,855

 

 

GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

The Group's revenue from external customers and non-current assets by geographical location is as detailed below.

 

 

UK

International

Total

£'000

£'000

£'000 

53 weeks ended 31 May 2020

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

161,307

29,501

190,808

Non-current assets

 

75,554

1,011

76,565

 

 

 

 

 

52 weeks ended 26 May 2019

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

182,917

35,053

217,970

Non-current assets

 

33,845

1,220

35,065

 

 

 

4.          PROFIT FOR THE YEAR

Profit before tax is stated after charging/(crediting):

 

 

53 weeks

52 weeks

 

 

ended

ended

 

 

31 May

26 May

 

 

2020

2019

 

 

£'000

£'000

 

 

 

 

Cost of inventories recognised as expense

79,850

85,309

Write down of inventory in the period

682

696

Transportation, carriage and packaging

11,499

10,517

Property rent and service charges*

792

13,998

Depreciation of property, plant and equipment

3,018

5,126

Depreciation of Right-of-use assets

12,645

-

Amortisation of intangible assets

3,803

2,672

Staff costs

35,311

37,542

Share-based compensation

(371)

2,616

Exceptional administrative expenses (note 2)

21,480

-

           

 

*The movement in this line compared to the prior period is largely due to the transition to IFRS 16. The Group has also benefited from Government business rates relief, which totalled £776,000 during the period.

 

Auditor's remuneration

 

 

 

53 weeks ended

31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended

26 May

2019

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The analysis of auditor's remuneration is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

Audit of the Group's financial statements

 

   141     

94

 

Audit of financial statements of subsidiary companies

 

 -

 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Total audit fees

 

 

 

141

116

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Other services pursuant to legislation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax advice

 

 

 

8

7

Audit related assurance services

 

 

 

5

4

Remuneration and share plan advisory

 

 

 

20

16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total non-audit fees

 

 

 

33

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

                

5.             FINANCE COSTS

 

 

 

53 weeks ended

31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended

26 May

2019

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

Credit facility interest

 

 

258

210

Term loan interest

 

 

108

23

Finance lease interest

 

 

-

18

Lease liability interest

 

 

1,408

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,774

251

 

 

 

 

 

6.          INCOME TAX

 

 

a)   Analysis of charge in the period

 

 

53 weeks ended

31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended

26 May

2019

£'000

Current tax

 

 

 

 

UK corporation tax based on the profit/loss

for the period

 

 

 

(3,160)

 

 3,029

Adjustment in respect of prior periods

 

 

127

(26)

Overseas tax

 

 

275

197

 

 

 

 

 

Total current tax (credit)/charge

 

 

(2,758)

3,200

 

 

 

 

 

Deferred taxation

 

 

 

 

Adjustment in respect of prior periods

 

 

(251)

56

Deferred tax on share-based compensation

 

 

599

(543)

Pension contributions

 

 

68

(64)

Short lease premiums tax deduction

 

 

9

(8)

Movement in fixed asset timing differences

 

 

(109)

78

IFRS 16 transitional adjustment

 

 

18

-

Movement on tax losses

 

 

(2,019)

-

Movement on disallowable provision

 

 

-

(18)

Effect of adjustment in tax rate

 

 

(196)

-

 

 

 

 

 

Total deferred taxation (credit)/charge

 

 

(1,882)

(499)

 

 

 

 

 

Tax (credit)/charge for the period (note 6b)

 

 

(4,640)

2,701

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the amount charged to the income statement, the following amounts relating to tax have been recognised in other comprehensive income.

 

 

53 weeks ended 31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended 26 May

2019

£'000

Deferred taxation

 

 

Gain/(loss) arising during the period on deferred tax on cash flow hedges

(472)

689

Deferred tax on unexercised share options

177

-

 

 

 

Total income tax gain/(loss) recognised in other comprehensive income

(295)

689

 

          

          

 

 

 

 

6.          INCOME TAX (continued)

 

b)   Factors affecting the tax charge for the period              

There are reconciling items between the expected tax charge and the actual which are shown below:

 

 

53 weeks ended 31 May

2020

£'000

52 weeks ended 26 May

2019

£'000

 

 

 

 

(Loss)/Profit before taxation

 

(25,345)

12,855

 

 

 

 

UK corporation tax at the standard rate

 

19.0%

19.0%

 

 

 

 

Profit multiplied by the standard rate in the UK

 

(4,816)

2,442

 

 

 

 

Effects of:

 

 

 

Expenses not deductible for tax purposes and other permanent differences

 

283

171

Depreciation and amortisation on non-qualifying assets

 

442

281

Adjustment in respect of prior period (current tax)

 

126

(26)

Adjustment in respect of prior period (deferred tax)

 

(251)

56

Difference in overseas tax rate

 

21

45

Effect of adjustment in deferred tax rate

 

(196)

59

Share-based compensation

 

(300)

(302)

R&D expenditure credits

 

33

(25)

IFRS 16 practical expedient on transition adjustment

 

18

-

Expenses not deductible for tax purposes and other permanent differences

 

283

171

 

 

 

 

Tax expense for the period (note 6a)

 

(4,640)

2,701

 

 

          

           

 

The current tax credit in the period includes a reversal of the prior year corporation tax charge for the 52 weeks ended 26 May 2019, following a carry back of tax losses generated for the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020.

The Finance Acts 2015 and 2016 included provision to reduce the rate of UK corporation tax to 19% with effect from 1 April 2017, with a further reduction to 17% with effect from 1 April 2020. During the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020, the reduction to 17% from 1 April 2020 was repealed such that 19% was the future corporation tax rate substantively enacted at the Statement of Financial Position date. Deferred taxation is measured by reference to the tax rates/laws that are enacted/substantively enacted at the Statement of Financial position date for the future periods in which the temporary timing differences are expected to reverse. Accordingly, the deferred tax balances at 31 May 2020 are calculated at 19% (2019: 17%).

 

 

7.                PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Land & buildings

£'000

 

Fixtures and fittings

£'000

 

Motor vehicles

£'000

 

 

        Total

        £'000

Cost

 

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

4,715

28,081

93

32,889

Additions

2,676

2,357

-

5,033

Disposals

-

-

(34)

(34)

Transfers

-

(988)

-

(988)

 

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

7,391

29,450

59

36,900

 

 

 

 

 

Additions

7,280

3,095

63

10,438

Disposals

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

14,671

32,545

122

47,338

 

 

 

 

 

Accumulated depreciation

 

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

-

14,750

90

14,840

Charge for the period

-

5,123

3

5,126

Disposals

-

-

(34)

(34)

Transfers

-

(277)

-

(277)

 

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

-

19,596

59

19,655

 

 

 

 

 

Charge for the period

-

2,980

38

3,018

Disposals

-

-

-

-

Impairment

-

4,118

-

4,118

 

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

-

26,694

97

26,791

 

 

 

 

 

Net book value

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

4,715

13,331

3

18,049

 

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

7,391

9,854

-

17,245

 

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

14,671

5,851

25

20,547

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property, Plant and Equipment

Transfers in the prior period relate to Trademarks and other intangibles which were previously recorded within Plant, Property and Equipment being reclassified to Intangible Assets.

 

Land & buildings comprise of land, buildings and capitalised borrowing costs in relation to the ongoing development of the site intended for use as the Group's new head office, which is under construction therefore is not being depreciated. The amount of borrowing costs capitalised in the year amounted to £112,000, which is also the cumulative amount capitalised.

 

During the year, the Group carried out a review of the recoverable amount of property, plant and equipment. The review led to the recognition of an impairment loss of £4,118,000, which has been recognised within exceptional administrative expenses in the Consolidated Income Statement.

 

 

 

8.          INTANGIBLE ASSETS

 

 

Trademarks and other intangibles

£'000

 

 

 

IT Systems

£'000

 

 

 

Total

£'000

 

Cost

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

-

17,423

17,423

Additions

179

6,030

6,209

Disposals

-

-

-

Transfers

999

(11)

988

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

1,178

23,442

24,620

 

 

 

 

Additions

81

7,508

7,589

Disposals

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

1,259

30,950

32,209

 

 

 

 

Accumulated amortisation

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

-

4,809

4,809

Charge for the period

120

2,552

2,672

Disposals

-

-

-

Transfers

277

-

277

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

397

7,361

7,758

 

 

 

 

Charge for the period

124

3,679

3,803

Disposals

-

-

-

Impairment

-

141

141

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

521

11,181

11,702

 

 

 

 

Net book value

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 27 May 2018

-

12,614

12,614

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

781

16,081

16,862

 

 

 

 

At 31 May 2020

738

19,769

20,507

 

 

 

 

 

Intangible assets

Transfers in the prior period relate to trademarks which were previously recorded within Plant, Property and Equipment being reclassified to Trademarks and other intangibles.

 

During the year, the Group carried out a review of the recoverable amount of intangible assets. The review led to the recognition of an impairment loss of £141,000, which has been recognised within exceptional administrative expenses in the Consolidated Income Statement.

 

 

9.                LEASES

 

Right-of-use assets:

Land and buildings

 

Fixtures and Fittings

 

Motor Vehicles

 

IT Equipment

 

Total

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

Balance as at 27 May 2019

57,465

 

199

 

356

 

646

 

58,666

Additions

1,381

 

-

 

131

 

-

 

1,512

Disposals

(533)

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(533)

Impairment

(16,717)

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(16,717)

Modifications

1,710

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

1,710

Depreciation of Right-of-use assets

(11,976)

 

(97)

 

(249)

 

(323)

 

(12,645)

Balance as at 31 May 2020

31,330

 

102

 

238

 

323

 

31,993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lease liabilities:

Land and buildings

 

Fixtures and Fittings

 

Motor Vehicles

 

IT Equipment

 

Total

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

Balance as at 27 May 2019

55,176

 

199

 

356

 

646

 

56,377

Additions

1,292

 

-

 

130

 

-

 

1,422

Disposals

(521)

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(521)

Interest expense related to lease liabilities

1,376

 

3

 

16

 

13

 

1,408

Modifications

1,710

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

1,710

Repayment of lease liabilities (including interest)

(13,020)

 

(94)

 

(265)

 

(335)

 

(13,714)

Balance as at 31 May 2020

46,013

 

108

 

237

 

324

 

46,682

 

10.        BORROWINGS

Summary of borrowing arrangements

The Credit facility relates to two Revolving Credit Facilities with Barclays Bank PLC that total £40.0 million, in which amounts drawn down are generally repayable within three months. The original facility of £25.0 million matures in July 2022.  In April 2020, the Group established a second Revolving Credit Facility of £15.0 million which matures in April 2021.

The five-year term loan facility with Barclays Bank PLC of £9.5 million is being used by the Group to part fund the development of the Group's new head office premises. The term loan facility is secured against the new head office land and buildings asset and £9.0 million of it was drawn down as at the period end (2019: £4.0m). During the year the repayment profile was renegotiated such that four quarterly payments due from March 2020 were deferred and have been added to the final payment due on maturity of the loan in December 2023.

The weighted average interest rates paid during the period were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

52 weeks ended

31 May

2020

 

52 weeks ended

26 May

2019

 

       Credit facility

 

 

 

2.4%

2.3%

       Term loan

 

 

 

1.9%

1.7%

       Finance leases

 

 

 

-

9.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 May

2020

£'000

 

26 May

2019

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit facility

 

 

 

12,660

6,157

Term loan

 

 

 

9,044

3,975

Finance leases

 

 

 

-

84

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21,704

      10,216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borrowings are repayable as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit facility

 

 

 

 

 

Within one year

 

 

 

12,660

6,157

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Term loan

 

 

 

 

 

Within one year

 

 

 

264

528

Between one and two years

 

 

 

1,056

1,056

Between two and five years

 

 

 

7,724

2,391

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9,044

3,975

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finance leases

 

 

 

 

 

Within one year

 

 

 

-

84

Between one and two years

 

 

 

-

-

Between two and five years

 

 

 

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

84

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total borrowings

 

 

 

 

 

Within one year

 

 

 

12,924

6,769

Between one and two years

 

 

 

1,056

1,056

Between two and five years

 

 

 

7,724

2,391

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21,704

10,216

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 26 May 2019

Impact of IFRS16

Cash flow

Non-cash changes

At 31 May 2020

 

 

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash at bank and in hand

16,013

-

10,090

140

26,243

 

Net cash per statement of cash flows

16,013

-

10,090

140

26,243

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borrowings

(10,216)

-

(11,502)

14

(21,704)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash before lease liabilities

5,797

-

(1,412)

154

4,539

 

Lease liabilities

-

(56,377)

13,714

(4,019)

(46,682)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net debt after lease liabilities

5,797

(56,377)

12,302

(3,865)

(42,143)

 

                     

11.        ANALYSIS OF NET CASH / NET DEBT

 

Non-cash changes relate to movements in interest on borrowings, the retranslation of foreign currency balances at the end of the period and lease acquisitions, disposals and modifications.

 

12.        RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

Transactions between the company and its subsidiaries, which are related parties, have been eliminated on consolidation.

The Directors control 30,420,923 shares (2019: 29,861,923 shares) in Joules Group plc, which represents 28% (2019: 34.0%) of the issued share capital.

 

13.        EARNINGS PER SHARE

Basic and diluted earnings per share are calculated by dividing profit attributable to ordinary equity holders by the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the period.

For the calculation of diluted earnings per share, the weighted average number of shares in issue is further adjusted to assume conversion of all potentially dilutive ordinary shares. The Company has one category of potentially dilutive ordinary shares, being management shares not yet vested.

During the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020, diluted loss per share is capped at the basic loss per share as the impact of dilution cannot result in a reduction in the loss per share.

 

 

 

 

 

53 weeks ended 31 May

2020

52 weeks ended 26 May

2019

 

 

 

 

 

Basic (loss)/earnings per share (pence)

 

(22.07)

11.57

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted (loss)/earnings per share (pence)

 

(22.07)

11.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

The calculation of basic and diluted (loss)/earnings per share is based on the following data:

Earnings

 

 

 

 

(Loss)/earnings for the purpose of basic and diluted earnings per share

 

£'000

(20,705)

 

£'000

       10,154

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Number of shares

 

 

 

            Weighted number of ordinary shares for the purpose of basic earnings per share

 

93,829,041

 

87,745,789

 

 

 

Potentially dilutive share awards

929,026

1,901,152

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted number of ordinary shares for the purpose of diluted earnings per share

 

94,758,067

 

89,646,941

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.        SHARE-BASED COMPENSATION

 

Summary of movement in awards

 

Number of shares

DBP 

ESOP

LTIP

SAYE

TOTAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outstanding at 26 May 2019

464,845

235,620

2,901,895

890,657

4,493,017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granted during the year

239,174

12,500

2,044,598

341,766

2,638,038

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lapsed during the year

-

(1,366)

(181,741)

(303,467)

(486,574)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercised during the year

(132,132)

(169,350)

(1,291,251)

(285,186)

(1,877,919)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outstanding at 31 May 2020

571,887

77,704

3,473,501

643,770

4,766,562

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercisable at 31 May 2020

-

46,551

-

28,944

75,495

 

An award over 128,618 Joules Group plc shares was granted to Nick Jones on 6 April 2020 as part compensation for share awards which would have vested had he remained with his former employer.

 

As part of measures taken by the Group to preserve cash during the COVID-19 crisis, Marc Dench, Nick Jones and the Group's employees agreed to take a pay reduction and were granted options on 6 April 2020 over 107,859 ordinary shares in Joules Group plc with a value commensurate with the value of the salaries waived.

 

A total of 1,877,919 share options were exercised in the year of which 5,700 were cash-settled, 280,108 were settled with shares previously purchased by the EBT and the remaining 1,592,111 were from new shares issues.

All share options were valued using the Black-Scholes model. Expected volatility was determined by management, using comparator volatility as a basis for share options granted in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Joules historic volatility data for the share options granted in 2019 and 2020. The expected life of the options was determined based on management's best estimate. The expected dividend yield was based on the anticipated dividend policy of the Company over the expected life of the options. The risk-free rate of return input into the model was a zero-coupon government bond with a life in line with the expected life of the options.

The fair value of the total shares issued during the period and measured as at issue date is £3,902,765.

The inputs into the model were as follows:

 

 

DBP

ESOP

LTIP

SAYE

Weighted average share price

2.33

1.7

2.26

2.7

Weighted average exercise price 

0.01

1.32

0.01

2.1

No. of employees

4

20

354

547

Shares under option

704,019

788,316

5,584,258

1,426,070

Expected volatility

28% - 68%

28% - 35%

28% - 124%

28% - 34%

Expected life (Years)

3

3

0.5 - 3

3

Risk-free rate

0.08% - 0.44%

0.08% - 0.55%

0.08% - 0.55%

0.08% - 0.55%

Possibility of ceasing employment before vesting

0%

0%

0% - 7.5%

10% - 15%

Expectations of meeting performance criteria

100%

100%

0% - 40%

100%

Expected dividend yield

0% - 1.9%

1.90%

0% - 1.9%

0% - 1.9%

 

 

The Group recognised a net credit of £246,000 during the year (2019: expense of £2,677,000) relating to cash settled and equity settled share-based compensation. Including associated employer's National Insurance contributions which in the year was a credit of £125,000 (2019: £61,000 credit), the Group recognised a total credit of £371,000 during the year (2019: charge of £2,616,000).

 

 

Deferred Bonus Plan ("DBP")

The DBP operates in conjunction with the Group's annual bonus plan. The number of ordinary shares subject to a DBP award will be the number of shares that have a market value equal to the value of the annual bonus deferred into a DBP award. DBP awards take the form of nil-cost options, vest on the third anniversary of the date on which the relevant annual bonus was determined and are normally exercisable until the tenth anniversary of the grant date.

Executive Share Option Plan ("ESOP")

The Group operated a share option scheme during the period for certain employees under the Executive Share Option Plan ("ESOP"). The different options vest between two years and three years and have an exercise life between three and ten years from grant date. All option schemes are subject to continued employment over the vesting period.

Long Term Incentive Plan ("LTIP")

The Board approved Long Term Incentive Plan 2016 ("LTIP 2016") allows the grant of options to executive directors and senior management of the Group in the form of nil-cost options over ordinary shares in Joules Group plc. The options are exercisable three years after the date of grant subject to achieving certain stretching targets.

The target of share option awards granted to the Executive directors and members of the operating board in 2017 and 2018 is 80% based on an EPS target in the final year of the relevant performance period, being the financial years ending May 2020 and May 2021 and 20% of the target is based on achieving specified international revenue targets.

The share option awards granted to the Executive Directors, members of the operating board and some senior managers in FY20 are based upon achievement against four targets, to be delivered in the final year of the performance period (FY22).  60% of the awards will be subject to underlying diluted EPS, 15% subject to US revenue, 15% subject to UK digital sales and 10% subject to the level of employee engagement (as measured by an industry recognised, third party, anonymous survey e.g. Best Companies ("BCI")).

For other senior management awards the target is based on the cumulative PBT over the three years to May 2020, May 2021 and May 2022. The calculation includes an assumption that 10% of senior managers on the scheme would cease employment before vesting.

Save As You Earn Scheme ("SAYE")

Under the terms of the SAYE scheme, the Board grants options to purchase ordinary shares in the Company to employees who enter into the HMRC-approved SAYE scheme for a term of three years. Options are granted at up to 20% discount to the market price of the shares on the day proceeding the date of offer and are exercisable for a period of six months after completion of the SAYE contract.

 

15.        DIVIDENDS

 

31 May 2020

26 May 2019

 

 

 

 

Pence per share

 

£000

 

Pence per share

 

£000

 

 

 

 

 

Interim dividend paid in the financial year

-

-

0.75

658

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final dividend proposed, not accrued, payable subject to approval at AGM

-

-

1.35

1,185

 

 

 

 

 

Total

-

-

2.1

1,843

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final dividend proposed for the 52 weeks ended 26 May 2019 was paid in the 53 weeks ended 31 May 2020.

The Directors are not proposing a dividend this year.

 

[1] Revenue growth for a comparable 27-week period to include the important Black Friday retail sales period into both the current and prior periods.

1 For further details on the restatement of prior year balances, refer to Note 1 - Basis of preparation of preliminary announcement.

1  The previously disclosed lease commitments were undiscounted, whilst the IFRS 16 - Leases obligations have been discounted based on the Group's incremental borrowing rate.

²  Under IAS 17, short term leases relating to pop-up stores were disclosed within lease commitments, which had lease terms of less than 12 months. The Group's ongoing policy choice under IFRS 16 - Leases is to not recognise these as lease liabilities.

 


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