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Joules posts robust online growth but stores sales drop by 58 percent

By Prachi Singh

Jan 7, 2021

For the seven-week period to January 3, 2021 total retail sales through Joules’ websites, including sales through the Friends of Joules digital marketplace, increased 66 percent driven by traffic growth and improved conversion rates across the group’s digital platforms. Total store sales for the period under review declined by 58 percent, reflecting the enforced closures of non-essential stores and reduced footfall as and when stores were able to remain open. During the periods that stores were able to trade, the company said in a statement, revenue was 23 percent lower when compared to the corresponding prior year periods.

Commenting on the outlook, Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, said: “Whilst the latest round of restrictions on store retail across the UK present a further challenge for the retail sector as we enter 2021, we remain very confident that Joules, as a highly relevant, digital-led brand with an engaged and growing customer base and healthy balance sheet, is well positioned to navigate these challenges.”

Review of Joule’s Christmas trading and outlook

Total retail revenue through Joules’ own-branded retail channels during the period was up by 0.3 percent against the prior year, with the growth in Joules e-commerce sales more than offsetting the decline from stores. The company added that the active customer base continued to grow, with over 1.5 million active customers at the end of the period.

Following the national lockdown across England, Scotland and Wales and the enforced closures of non-essential retail stores, all the group’s stores are currently closed. The company further said that whilst the duration of these restrictions is uncertain, if they were to continue through to April 1, 2021, the potential loss in group revenues resulting from the closure of its stores, the cancellation of country shows and disruption to wholesale partners is estimated to be in the range of 14 to 18 million pounds.

The company’s board anticipates that the potential adverse sales impact from this new period of non-essential retail closures will be partially mitigated in the full financial year to 30 May 2021 due to better than expected sales and profit performance in the seven months of trading up to January 3, 2021; continued strong momentum of Joules digital platform sales, driven by growth in the group’s active customer base, the relevance of the product offer and investments in the distribution centre completed in the last twelve months; and ongoing benefits from cost reduction activities, including head office costs and lease renegotiations.

Picture:Joules via Hudson Sandler