Joules laps up Britons’ desire to get back to nature

Welly and raincoat retailer Joules laps up Britons’ desire to get back to nature as it sees online sales rise sharply and ups its profit forecast

  • The retailer now expects its full-year pre-tax profit to come in ahead of forecasts
  • In-store sales fell sharply during the pandemic, but are now on the up again 

Welly and raincoat retailer Joules has benefited from Britons’ desire to get back to nature and spruce up their homes and gardens during the pandemic. 

The group, which sells clothes, shoes, homeware and garden furniture, revealed its profits for the year look set to come in slightly better than expected amid a marked rise in online sales.

In a pre-close update, Joules said its revenue for the year had increased by around 4 per cent to £199million, up from £190.8million the year before.

The group’s pre-tax profit for the year is now expected to come in at between £5.5million to £6.5million, which is slightly ahead of current forecasts.

Better than expected: Retailer Joules has upped its profit forecast for the year

Better than expected: Retailer Joules has upped its profit forecast for the year

The retailer saw its stores shut for months on end as a result of lockdown restrictions, prompting an annual in-store sales to drop by around 41 per cent.

But, growth in the group’s online operations has been strong, with sales through digital channels up 48 per cent.

‘This very strong digital performance reflected increased customer traffic to the Joules website as well as improved customer conversion trends’, the group said.

In total, the group’s retail revenue, which includes e-commerce sales as well as the group’s stores, rose 9 per cent year-on-year.

With people spending so much time at home, the group’s garden lines sold well over the past year.

Earlier this year Joules expanded its non-fashion arm by snapping up online furniture, homewares, garden accessories and lighting shop The Garden Trading Company.

Back to nature: People's desire to get outdoors has given firms like Joules a boost

Back to nature: People's desire to get outdoors has given firms like Joules a boost

Back to nature: People’s desire to get outdoors has given firms like Joules a boost

The Leicestershire-based fashion brand spent around £12.5million on the business which sells products ‘inspired by the British countryside and lifestyle trends.’

But, the retailer’s total wholesale sales, fell by around 17 per cent year-on-year. 

Joules said store sales for the eight weeks since post-lockdown reopening were ahead of the comparable period two years ago. 

Nick Jones, chief executive, said: ‘The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the lives of consumers, the level of disruption and pace of change in the retail sector over the past 12 months has been truly unprecedented.

‘I am delighted that, against this backdrop, Joules has been able to deliver a very solid financial performance and strong strategic progress.

‘This outcome primarily reflects, firstly, the strength and relevance of the Joules brand to an increasing number of customers and, secondly, the increasing importance of our digital proposition both to customers and within our business model, with approximately 77 per cent of our retail sales now generated online.

‘As we move into the new financial year, Joules is now a stronger and more diversified business than ever before.’

He added: ‘As a result of the strength of the Joules brand and the increasing diversification of the group’s digital-led business model, we believe that the group is very well positioned to continue to deliver its ambitious growth plans.’

Shares in Joules are down 0.57 per cent or 1.61p to 283.39p this morning. A year ago the group’s share price was 105.25p, having been hit hard by lockdown restrictions. 

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