Joules has reported strong growth in its 30th anniversary year, and says a multichannel strategy built around its ‘total retail’ platform has helped it to prosper.
The clothing and lifestyle brand, a Top150 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, reported group revenues of £218m in the year to May 26. That’s 17.2% up on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £12.9m were 14.9% ahead.
Ecommerce sales grew by 58.1% to £78.7m, representing 49.5% of its retail sales. That’s up from 38.4% a year earlier, while international sales increased by 43.5% to represent 16.1% of group revenue. Mobile, it said, was the most important ecommerce channel – accounting for more than three-quarters of traffic.
In 2019, Joules retail sales reached £74.9m and sales via its wholesale channel £57.1m.
The retail brand says its success is underpinned by its ‘total retail’ platform that ensures the customer experience is consistent across its channels, whether that’s online, in stores and concessions, at events and country shows, and most recently, via online marketplaces. Its goal, it says, is to ensure, “the brand is present wherever our customers spend their time” at a time when “the lines between physical and digital commerce are becoming increasingly blurred”.
In-store, digital transactions including click and collect, order-in-store, and in-store returns, represented about 20% of store transactions.
Joules chief executive Colin Porter said: “Joules has delivered another strong performance this year with growth across channels and product categories, both in the UK and internationally. The results in a challenging retail sector reflect the strength and appeal of the Joules brand, the flexibility of our Total Retail model and the success of our carefully-managed product extension strategy.”
He added: “Looking ahead, whilst the consumer retail environment is anticipated to remain challenging, particularly in the UK, the board and I believe that Joules remains well-positioned for continued success both in the UK and our target international markets.”
The US and Germany are Joules’ main international markets. It has moved into those markets via wholesale – to third-party online retailers, marketplaces, department stores and others – supported by its own ecommerce website. In the US it sells via partners including Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and through online and subscription partners including Stitch Fix. In the rest of the world, it sells via a website with localised payment and fulfilment options. “We continue to evaluate new markets to expand the brand through the most appropriate channels,” the retailer said in its full-year statement.
Joules says that ongoing potential Brexit “adds complexity and uncertainty among many areas of the group’s operations”. A no deal Brexit, it said, would be likely to intensify that. Extra customs procedures “may result in delays to both inbound and outbound movements of goods, particularly if the UK withdraws from the EU with no free trade agreement,” it said. “This could adversely affect our supply chain and our ability to supply our wholesale customer base.”
Joules now sells sofas in partnership with DFS, and toiletries and gifts in partnership with Boots. It has also expanded its product range into DAB radios, watches and pet products. It is also working with Holiday Cottages to help furnish 20 properties across the UK.
The Market Harborough-based retailer sells online and, as of May 26, through 125 stores – of which six opened during the year – and 34 concessions in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It also sells wholesale to more than 2000 stockists including John Lewis and Nordstrom.
The retailer will have a new chief executive from September, when Nick Jones joins from Asda to replace Colin Porter who is retiring after eight years at the business, five as chief executive.
Image courtesy of Joules