South African group launches bid to rescue Joules

The owner of high street brands Phase Eight, Whistles and Hobbs is considering a bid to rescue stricken Market Harborough lifestyle retailer Joules, it has emerged.

The Foschini Group (TFG), based in South Africa, is reported to have been in talks with Joules for “several weeks”, according to Sky News.

Earlier this week, Interpath Advisory were appointed as administrators to Joules putting 1,600 jobs at risk.

TFG is said to be interested in taking a “substantial stake” in the retailer. The company joins Next, Frasers Group and Marks & Spencer as potential rescuers of Joules, which has 132 stores.

On Wednesday (November 16), Will Wright, Ryan Grant and Chris Pole from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators of Joules Group plc and Joules Limited.

At the same time, Will Wright and Ryan Grant were appointed joint administrators of Joules Developments and The Garden Trading Company.

The joint administrators say the group will continue to trade as a going concern while they “assess options for the business”, including exploring the possibility of a sale.

All stores, including the group’s online store, remain open.

Wright said: “Joules is one of the most recognisable names on the high street, with a unique brand identity and loyal customer base.

“Over the coming weeks, we will endeavour to continue to operate all stores as a going concern during this vitally important Christmas trading period while we assess options for the Group, including a possible sale.

“Since the group’s announcement on Monday, we have had an overwhelming amount of interest from interested parties. We will be working hard over the days ahead to assess this interest, but at this stage we are optimistic that we will be able to secure a future for this great British brand.”

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