7 January 2021
Joules Group Plc
('Joules' or the 'Group')
Christmas Trading Update & Outlook
Joules, the premium British lifestyle brand, is pleased to provide a trading update for the Group's retail channels during the seven-week period to 3 January 2021 (the "Period").
Total retail sales through Joules' websites, including sales through the Friends of Joules digital marketplace, increased 66% year on year1. This was driven by traffic growth and improved conversion rates across the Group's digital platforms. The strong e-commerce performance highlights the continued strength of the Joules brand and its product proposition, which comprises its core Joules clothing, footwear and accessories collections alongside the highly complementary and relevant Friends of Joules digital marketplace offering.
Total store sales declined by 58% during the Period, reflecting the enforced closures of non-essential stores and reduced footfall as and when stores were able to remain open. During the periods that stores were able to trade, revenue was 23% lower when compared to the corresponding prior year periods, reflecting lower overall footfall trends, in particular over the last two weeks of the Period.
Total retail revenue through Joules' own-branded retail channels2 during the Period was up by 0.3% against the prior year, with the growth in Joules e-commerce sales more than offsetting the decline from stores.
The Group's brand awareness and brand health metrics3 showed continued improvements during the Period and the active customer base4 continued to grow, with over 1.5 million active customers at the end of the Period. Pleasingly, this progress was achieved despite the closure of many of the Joules stores for extended periods5.
At 3 January 2021, the Group had net cash of £13 million and total liquidity headroom of £63 million.
Following the national lockdown across England, Scotland and Wales and the enforced closures of non-essential retail stores, all the Group's stores are currently closed. Whilst the duration of these restrictions is uncertain, if they were to continue through to 1 April 2021, the potential loss in Group revenues resulting from the closure of its stores, the cancellation of country shows and disruption to wholesale partners is estimated to be in the range of £14 to £18 million.
The Board anticipates that the potential adverse sales impact from this new period of non-essential retail closures will be partially mitigated in the full financial year to 30 May 2021 due to:
- better than expected sales and profit performance in the seven months of trading up to 3 January 2021;
- continued strong momentum of Joules digital platform sales, driven by growth in the Group's active customer base, the relevance of the product offer and investments in our distribution centre completed in the last twelve months; and
- ongoing benefits from cost reduction activities, including head office costs and lease renegotiations
The Board believes the Group's strong balance sheet will enable it to navigate the current climate and emerge in a strong position.
The Group intends to provide its next update with its Interim Results on 28 January 2021.
Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, commented:
"We are pleased with the continued strong performance delivered across our digital channels during the Christmas trading period and are encouraged by the increasing customer awareness of, and demand for, the Joules brand. This has been supported by our Friends of Joules digital marketplace which added a great range of products and gifting options for customers throughout the Christmas trading period.
Whilst the latest round of restrictions on store retail across the UK present a further challenge for the retail sector as we enter 2021, we remain very confident that Joules, as a highly relevant, digital-led brand with an engaged and growing customer base and healthy balance sheet, is well positioned to navigate these challenges. As a result, we remain as excited as ever by our long-term growth prospects."
1 Gross sales, including Joules own e-commerce and Friends of Joules, prior to returns, calculated consistently in each period
2 Excludes third-party retail platforms that Joules sells through
3 Based on YouGov rolling panel survey data
4 An active customer is a customer registered on the Joules database who has transacted in the last 12 months
5 Stores were closed (on average) for approximately half of the seven-week 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
Joules is a premium lifestyle brand with an authentic heritage. The Joules brand is about family, fun and joy in the countryside. Joules creates and curates exceptional products that brighten the lives of its customers, delivered through a leading digital platform that is supported by enticing experiences and stores that are located in desirable locations relevant to the Joules customer's lifestyle.
The Joules story began in 1989, when Tom Joule started selling clothing on a stand at a country show in Leicestershire. Today, the business designs and sells Joules branded clothing, footwear and accessories for women, men and children … with collections of homeware, toiletries, lifestyle and pet product ranges that are carefully designed and developed through selected licensing partnerships.
Joules' distinctive design-led products are complemented by an increasingly broad customer offer provided through its digital marketplace Friends of Joules, enabling third party brands to offer curated, complementary products to the Joules customer base, enhancing Joules' digital platform with thousands of products from hundreds of creative businesses to give customers everything they could ever need for a contemporary country lifestyle.
The Joules brand caters to its 1.5 million active customers through its own digital platform, its retail stores in the UK and at country shows and events. Joules extends its brand reach through well-established 3rd party relationships - concessions, online marketplaces and traditional wholesale in the UK and internationally.
Internationally, the brand has made good progress in its target markets of the US and Germany, where the distinctive Joules brand and products range resonate well with local customers. International markets are served by wholesale partnerships and dedicated Joules websites.
Joules' performance has been recognised through several 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