City briefs: Joules ‘encouraged’ by Q1 results; Cloudcall sees losses widen

Market Harborough lifestyle retailer Joules says turnover during its first quarter to August 30 was ahead of expectations.

The firm, which is holding its AGM today (September 23) posted revenues of £39.6m during the period with revenue from the Group’s own e-commerce channels increasing by 63%.

Retail revenue declined by 5% over the period.

Nick Jones, dhief executive of Joules, said: “We are encouraged by the Group’s performance in the first quarter of the financial year with sales ahead of our expectations. This is testament to the flexibility of the Joules model and the increasing strength, relevance and awareness of the Joules brand.

“The Group’s strong e-commerce performance demonstrates the appeal of Joules as well as our growing customer base and we continue to be very encouraged by the performance of our Friends of Joules digital marketplace. In addition, we have been pleased with the performance of our stores since re-opening with higher levels of conversion when compared to pre-lockdown and steadily improving footfall trends.

“As with all consumer-facing businesses we face challenging trading conditions and unprecedented levels of uncertainty over the coming months and into the peak Christmas trading season. Against this backdrop we remain cautious on the future trading outlook and will continue to tightly manage costs and conserve cash.”

Leicester-based cloud software business Cloudcall has posted increased losses of £2.1m for the six months to June 30.

The performance is despite of revenues climbing by 11% to £5.8m.

Simon Cleaver, chairman, said: “The Board believes COVID-19 will have long lasting effects on how businesses operate, where the staff are based and what they require from their communications provider. The influx of new customer sign-ups in June, July and August clearly signposts that location flexibility, productivity monitoring and improvement tools and data capture for improved decision making will become must-haves for technology stacks to support new ways of working.

“CloudCall, with its call recordings, supervisor tools and expertise in syncing communications with third-party systems has a head start in this area. We’re already well placed and have plans to further capitalise on this structural market shift which we look forward to detailing later this year.

“The Group has already returned to monthly recurring revenue growth, and if market conditions continue to improve, the Board fully expects the Group to return to its previous levels of growth in due course. As a result of this, and assuming a continuation of the current trends, the Group is now confident that it can expect to deliver modest revenue growth for 2020, which will continue to build in 2021. However, with the continuing uncertainty surrounding the speed of any recovery and the possibility of a second wave of the virus, the Board feels it remains prudent to withhold guidance for 2021 at this stage.”

“Notwithstanding this, we remain confident that – underpinned by the strength and relevance of our brand – Joules remains well positioned to continue to adapt to changing consumer behaviours.”