Joules today said that both online traffic and demand were running ahead of expectations set when it entered the government’s lockdown period. But it is managing that customer demand in order to ensure that its distribution centre partner, in Corby, can continue to operate safely while observing social distancing and hygiene regulations.
Usually the website represents about half of sales for the lifestyle business, which operates 125 stores, 34 concessions and three stores via franchisers that are now closed as part of the Government lockdown of non-essential retail, and sells via rural shows, events, and wholesale.
Beyond its website, the retailer is seeing “strong levels of customer engagement” both via its social media channels and via its Friends of Joules digital marketplace.
Profits from sales of a Rainbow Edit collection are going to NHS Charities Together – with £35,000 raised to date. Joules, based in Market Harborough, has worked with its supply chain to provide personal protective equipment for its local Leicestershire health services and says that so far it has donated 50,000 masks.
The ecommerce news came as Joules said in a business update that it had raised £15m in equity, unlocking a further £15m in bank lending. As of April 19, its debt totalled £6.9m and it has £43.1m of lending available. The retailer said it had taken action to conserve cash at a time of “significant global macro-economic uncertainty” and thanked suppliers, landlords and staff for their co-operation.
The retailer will use the cash to grow its multichannel business while also supporting operations during the ongoing pandemic.
Joules chief executive Nick Jones said: "The completion of the additional facility with Barclays Bank plc provides Joules with further liquidity to navigate these challenging times and positions the business to continue to progress its strategic growth plans following the current period of significant disruption.
“Our ecommerce sales over recent weeks continue to demonstrate the strength of the Joules brand and the loyalty of our customer base. We know that further challenging times are ahead, but we are confident that, with the continued support of our colleagues, customers and the wider Joules community of suppliers and partners, Joules is well positioned to manage these challenges."
Joules is a Top250 business in RXUK Top500 research.
Image courtesy of Joules