Joules recovery continues in stores and online
Joules Group had good news on Tuesday. The lifestyle retailer said it’s expecting a “positive performance” across all of its retail channels for the financial year that ends in a few weeks and that revenue and pre-tax profit should come in ahead of expectations.
In a trading update, it said it has continued to perform since its interim results in late January. Its overall sales have been driven by continued strength on its digital platform, which is no surprise given that a large chunk of the last few months has seen UK stores remaining firmly closed with reopening only beginning in April. But it said that the performance of its physical shops has been good since they reopened last month (more of that later).
It conceded that there remains uncertainty around the retail sector, but it’s encouraged by how trading has been going in recent months as well as the confirmation of the further easing of lockdown restrictions in England that came on Monday.
That easing means more consumers will be able to get out and about to socialise, which also means they should want to buy more new clothes – something many of them haven't done for over a year.
Looking more closely at the performance in the first 11 months of its financial year, the company said that demand on its own websites has grown around 50% overall year-on-year. This shows that growth has been accelerating lately as the increase at the end of the first six months was only 47%.
Friends of Joules, the group's digital lifestyle marketplace of third-party brands, has “continued its strong growth momentum, reflecting the increased number of curated products and ranges now available to Joules' growing active digital customer base”.
And since reopening, its stores have performed ahead of management expectations with sales for the four weeks beating the comparable period two years ago. “This pleasing performance reflects a combination of pent-up consumer demand as well as the attractive, predominantly lifestyle locations of the group's store estate,” it said.
In recently, it has opened new locations in North Berwick and Centre Parcs Woburn and Longleat (the first of five Centre Parcs locations due to open over the coming months). It has also relocated two stores to “brand-enhancing locations” in Beverley and Cirencester.
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