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Joules buys The Garden Trading Company to expand further into the home and garden categories

Joules: riding the ecommerce wave

Joules is spending up to £12.5m to buy The Garden Trading Company, one of the partners that sells on its Friends of Joules marketplace. 

Joules, ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research, says the move  will take it further into the home, garden and outdoor category. Garden Trading designs its own range of product and sells them both online direct to consumers and to more than 1,000 stockists around the UK. It has been a leading sellers on the Friends of Joules marketplace since that site was launched in 2019.

Joules says it plans to continue to develop the Garden Trading brand and product range, and will also use its design and sourcing expertise to develop its own range of Joules-branded products. 

In the year to November 30 2020, The Garden Trading Company turned over £16.8m, more than 40% up on the previous year, and made a pre-tax profit of £2m. 

Joules will pay an initial £9m, half in cash and half as Joules shares, while deferring a final payment of up to £3.5m to be paid subject to Garden Trading meeting targets in its year to November 30 2021.

Nick Jones, chief executive of Joules, says: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Garden Trading, which is a fast-growing and highly complementary brand to Joules in the attractive home, garden & outdoor category. The acquisition will help to increase the Joules customer base, broaden our product offering and strengthen our digital platform, which are three of the Group’s key strategic growth pillars. 

“The Garden Trading brand shares similar design-led principles to Joules and, as has been demonstrated through its stand-out popularity on the Friends of Joules digital marketplace over the past 15 months, is highly relevant to our customers and their lifestyles.”

Jon Holloway, founder and managing director of Garden Trading, says: “We are delighted to be joining Joules, which is a business and brand I have long admired. Since we started selling through the Friends of Joules digital marketplace more than a year ago it has become increasingly clear how well our products and brand resonate with the Joules customer base. In addition, by working with the Joules team it is clear that we share similar values, culture and customer-centric approach. 

He adds: “With the continued dedication of the Garden Trading team alongside the support and infrastructure that Joules offers, I am very confident in the growth opportunities ahead for the Garden Trading brand.” 

Holloway is to stay with the business until December 2021. 

Joules has seen rising demand over the last year as shoppers have turned online for the casual clothing and homewares that it sells. In the first half of its financial year, 70% of its sales took place online, compensating for store closures but not for sales lost via wholesale and via cancelled country shows.The retailer raised £30m in April 2020 in order to give it the headroom to survive the pandemic – and that may mean it now has cash available.

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