Boom in online sales propels Joules to better-than-expected first half

Market Harborough-based lifestyle retailer Joules says it is confident of meeting full-year targets after revealing better-than-expected first half results this morning (December 8).

The firm says that sales for the 26 weeks to November 29 are ahead of forecasts, driven by a rise of 35% in its online sales during the period.

Ecommerce represented more than 70% of the firm’s retail revenue over the six months, with website traffic up by 40%.

Depsite this, revenue for the period was down 15.3% to £94.5m because of the store closures during the English lockdown and the cancellation of country shows across the UK.

Joules now says it expects profit before tax for the period to be between £3.5m-£4m.

Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, said: “The strength of our digital proposition, the increased number of Joules customers and the growing appeal of the brand has meant that Joules has continued to trade well during the period, despite the impact of enforced store closures.

“We delivered a good Black Friday trading period through our online channel and our Friends of Joules digital marketplace continues to perform ahead of our expectations. We have strong momentum – particularly through our online channel – and a good stock position that underpins our confidence for the peak Christmas trading period. We have been pleased with the performance of our stores in England for the first few days since their re-opening in early December.

“As anticipated, our wholesale sales have been subdued in the first half, however an improved performance over recent weeks and the positive response to our spring/summer 21 ranges, that were sold-in via our digital B2B sales platform, gives us confidence for the recovery of the wholesale channel over the coming seasons.

“The retail sector continues to face a number of near and medium-term challenges, including the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on our communities and economy as well as Brexit-related uncertainties. I have no doubt that Joules, underpinned by the strength of our brand and our flexible and scalable platform that now includes our Friends of Joules digital marketplace, is well positioned to be one of the long-term winners against this challenging backdrop.

“I would again like to thank all of Joules’ stakeholders for their continued support and commitment to our brand.”

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