5 November 2020
Joules Group plc
('Joules' or the 'Group')
Business and trading update
Joules, the premium British lifestyle brand, provides a business update in light of the latest UK Government restrictions, as well as an update on trading in the financial year to date (the first 22 weeks of its financial year to 31 May 2021 or the "Period").
In line with the latest UK Government restrictions on non-essential retail, the Group's retail stores in England are now closed during the four-week national lockdown until 2nd December 2020. The Group intends to place all store colleagues in England on furlough during this period of closure.
The Group currently anticipates that its stores in Wales will re-open on 9 November 2020 following a two-week lockdown. Joules stores across Scotland and Northern Ireland remain open.
The Board believes that Joules remains well positioned to satisfy higher anticipated online demand over the forthcoming peak trading periods, having completed several capacity and efficiency enhancements within the Group's UK warehouse during 2020.
The encouraging trends reported in the Group's trading update on 23 September 2020 have continued, with sales for the Period remaining ahead of the Board's expectations. This has been driven by strong year-on-year e-commerce growth of 35%, with e-commerce revenue accounting for 70% of the Group's retail sales in the Period. The Group's stores performed ahead of the Board's expectations during the Period, with sales since the re-opening of Joules stores in July down by 18% year-on-year. The Group's wholesale and international sales have performed in line with expectations over this Period.
The Group's active customer base has now grown to 1.5 million, reflecting the strength of the Joules brand. 'New to brand' customer growth has been particularly strong in recent months, benefitting from: focused digital marketing investment; the positive impact of the Friends of Joules digital marketplace; and the desirable lifestyle locations of many of the Group's stores.
The Group's balance sheet remains strong with net cash of £9.4 million and liquidity headroom of £57 million at 1 November 2020.
As a result of Joules' continued momentum, and notwithstanding the significant levels of uncertainty as the Group enters the critical peak trading season, the Board believes that Joules remains on track to deliver its expectations for the FY21 financial year.
Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, commented:
"Joules has continued to trade well with sales in the financial year to date ahead of the Board's expectations. We have seen strong growth in our customer base during recent months, benefiting from our focus on digital marketing, the attractive locations of our stores and the increasingly broad customer offer through our Friends of Joules digital marketplace.
As we enter the peak trading season, the retail sector in England faces the challenge of having to close non-essential stores for the next four weeks. Despite this difficult backdrop, Joules has a very strong brand and a flexible business model, which has underpinned the Group's robust performance to date during Covid-19. In addition, we are well positioned from an operations and financial perspective, having built on the experience and lessons from the Spring lockdown.
Our AW20 collections have been well received by customers and our Friends of Joules digital marketplace continues to deliver growth ahead of our expectations. As a result, we enter the peak trading period in a strong position. Our e-commerce business now represents 70% of our retail sales and we have made significant investments in capacity to ensure that we can continue to drive and satisfy demand through this increasingly important channel as we adapt to changing consumer behaviours.
I would again like to thank all of Joules stakeholders, but particularly our colleagues, for their continued flexibility, loyalty and dedication through this very challenging period."
- Ends -
Joules Group plc
Nick Jones, CEO
Marc Dench, CFO
Tel: +44 (0) 1858 435 255
Hudson Sandler (Financial PR)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133
Peel Hunt LLP, Nominated Advisor and Joint Broker
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900
Liberum Capital Limited, Joint Broker
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.
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:
o Mainstream Brand of the Year - Drapers Awards 2019, 2017 and 2016
o Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand Award - Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2019
o Best Licensed Gifting Product Award - Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Award 2019
o The Best Fashion Retailer (Mark of Excellence) - Retail Week Awards 2019 and 2018
o 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)