Joules has emerged as one of the retailers interested in acquiring a number of Austin Reed Group stores, after administrator AlixPartners announced it failed to find a buyer for the high street chain’s full portfolio yesterday.
Sources told Drapers Joules is interested in a package of stores, although exactly how many has not been confirmed, as it continues to expand its UK store estate.
The British lifestyle brand and retailer floated on London Stock Exchange’s junior Aim market on May 26 and its share price jumped 22% to 196p from 160p on admission, when it was valued at £140m.
Joules said revenues rose 50.2% to £116.4m between its 2013 and 2015 financial years, driven by its store rollout, expanded ecommerce and increased wholesale sales.
It has opened an average of 12 stores each year in the UK over the last three years, and now has 98 in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Joules plans to grow through new UK stores, ecommerce and international expansion, as well as by entering new categories.
Yesterday AlixPartners confirmed that companies owned by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group bought the Austin Reed name and its stock, but 1,000 jobs are set to be lost after administrators failed to find a buyer for the stores.
Five concessions within Boundary Mills outlet villages have been sold to AR Operations Limited and 28 employees will be transferred to this company, which is owned by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.
The Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands have been sold to fellow Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group company Border IP Limited. The administrators have not yet disclosed the fate of Austin Reed Group’s other brand, Viyella.
Property consultant GCW is understood to be advising the administrators on the sale of the store portfolio but declined to comment.
Joules has not yet responded to Drapers’ request for comment.