Joules turns to Clipper to improve logistics

Fashion retailer Joules has announced it has signed a five-year contract with Clipper Logistics in the UK, as it looks to improve its fulfilment processes.

The partnership will be based at the retailer’s distribution centre in Corby, Northamptonshire.

In a statement released today (13 January), the two companies described the collaboration as “a fast-moving fulfilment and logistics operation”. It will involve inbound deliveries from a variety of UK-based and international suppliers seven days a week, fulfilling orders for Joules’ stores, eCommerce and wholesale customers.

Joules has acted to enhance its supply chain after admitting, last week, that its Christmas trading was seriously impacted by online stock availability issues. The company has issued a profit warning for the full financial year, off the back of a 4.5% year-on-year decline in the seven weeks to 5 January 2020.

The sales drop, which contrasted with 11%-plus year-on-year growth for the same period in 2018, was attributed to “an internally generated stock availability issue through the important end-of-season sale event”.

Last week’s trading announcement mentioned the new UK logistics operation, but it has only emerged today that the new supplier is Clipper. Joules has also transitioned its US distribution centre to a new partner, and the retailer told investors that both moves will incur incremental non-recurring costs during the transition phase, although significant cost savings are expected from 2021 and beyond.

The Clipper partnership is set to commence in the coming weeks, with the sites employing approximately 200 colleagues. Joules has committed to a multi-million-pound investment programme into the operation during 2020 and 2021 to expand capacity, drive efficiency and modernise the facilities.

Marc Dench, chief financial officer at Joules, commented: "We are delighted to be entering this long-term partnership with Clipper for the operation of our distribution centre in Corby. 

“Through the process we have been impressed with Clipper's capabilities and their cultural alignment with our business."