Joules experiences online uplift but suffers annual loss

Fashion retailer Joules has enjoyed a 40% uplift in eCommerce sales during lockdown but this failed to offset a decline in sales and profits for its overall financial year as a result of Covid-19.

The company released its trading statement for the year ending May 31 that revealed a 12% fall in revenues to £191 million compared with the same period last year as Covid-19 pushed store sales down 20%. In contrast eCommerce moved up 5% over the year, with a clear acceleration seen during lockdown. The net result is forecast to be a loss for the company of £2-3 million across the financial year.

Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, said: "Whilst this continues to be an exceptionally challenging period for people, communities and businesses, I am delighted with how Joules has responded over recent months. We were quick to adapt to the initial disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic by bolstering our liquidity position, preserving cash and focusing our trading online. We are very encouraged with the significant 40% growth in eCommerce demand during the lockdown period, which is particularly pleasing given the already established scale of our eCommerce operations.

There was also positive news from Joules’ digital marketplace, Friends of Joules, which launched at the end of 2019. The complimentary range of products from over 200 independent sellers has “performed well, with sales and customer engagement surpassing initial expectations”.

The focus now is in reopening stores, with Joules having opened the doors on 12 units on June 15, and the plan is to reopen the remaining 116 outlets on a phased basis over the coming weeks.