Clothing retailer Joules has seen revenue from its ecommerce channel rise 63% in Q1 amidst what it says are “encouraging results against a tough backdrop”. Overall sales were down 18%, but ahead of its £39.6 million revenue forecast.
Overall the fashion and homewares lifestyle retailer, ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research, saw revenues down 5% on the same time last year. However, sales through its own retail channels rose slightly by 1.5% year-on-year. Ecommerce revenues, including third-party sales, was up 45% compared to Q1 2019.
The company’s marketplace, Friends of Joules also performed well.
Chief executive officer Nick Jones said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Looking ahead, Joules has a Brexit task force that is currently working to mitigate the effects of a likely hard Brexit on the UK. It has set up its UK logistics facility as a bonded warehouse while also gaining certifications as an authorised economic operator. But, it added: “Notwithstanding these mitigating actions, the group’s wholesale and ecommerce sales into the European Union could face a period of operational disruption and potentially increased costs as a consequence of a hard Brexit.”
Jones said he was proud of how the business had responded to Covid-19 disruption.
He added: “We were quick to bolster our liquidity position, preserve cash and focus our trading online and we are very encouraged by the more than 70% growth in ecommerce demand since the start of the new financial year as well as the performance of our stores since reopening. This is testament to the strength of the Joules brand, the relevance of our product range, the desirable locations of our stores and the flexibility of our model.”