Joules shines amid retail gloom as it prepares for Brexit

James Booth
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Joules makes colourful clothes inspired by English country living (Source: Getty)

Fashion retailer Joules has bucked the gloomy trend in retail with a strong first half as it prepares for Brexit.

Joules, which sells colourful styles inspired by English country life, grew revenue 17.6 per cent to £113.1m in the 26 weeks to 25 November, compared to the same period last year.

In a pre-close trading update it said it anticipates underlying profit before tax to be slightly ahead of initial expectations for the period.

Joules also said it had prepared contingency plans to mitigate disruption that could arise in the event of a hard Brexit.

“These plans include establishing an EU-based third party distribution facility; scheduling earlier inbound product deliveries for our spring/summer 2019 ranges; preparation for expected increased administrative activities; and hedging US dollar requirements more than 12 months forward,” the company said.

Its board acknowledged the tough UK retail environment saying it “anticipates that trading conditions in the UK will remain challenging over the near term, with continued macroeconomic uncertainty, rapidly changing consumer shopping behaviours and a highly competitive environment.”

Chief executive Colin Porter said: “In the UK, our ‘total retail’ cross-channel model, underpinned by investment in infrastructure, has proven to be well suited to today’s rapidly changing consumer shopping behaviours. In addition, our international wholesale business continues to make excellent progress by both increasing sales to existing accounts and developing new accounts.

“We have an outstanding brand, good momentum and a growing customer base and we look forward to the second half of the financial year with confidence.”

Broker Liberum said the update was “very strong” particularly in the “current tough retail environment”.

Joules will announce its interim financial results on 23 January.