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Channel-agnostic approach fuels success at Joules

Investment in key international markets, such as the US, and a “total retail” omnichannel model has helped Joules to drive growth, CEO Colin Porter has told Drapers.

Reporting a 17.2% rise in group revenue for the year to 26 May 2019 to £218m, Porter said the British lifestyle retailer had focused on the US and German markets to drive international growth.

“Our journey in the US continues, and we have invested a lot of time and energy into the market,” he said. “We have a team of 30 in New York, and have expanded across our team, office and showroom.”

Joules works with nearly 1,000 independent retailers in the US, and Porter highlighted that department stores in the market had been particularly successful. Last year Joules began working with US department store Bloomingdale’s, and Porter reported a positive response across men’s, women’s and children’s ranges.

In Germany, growth was attributed to a strong wholesale network and online growth from partners including Zalando. International now accounts for around 16% of sales.

colin porter

Colin Porter will step down later this year

Porter added that Joules had no plans to “take eyes off” the US and German markets, but noted that wholesale would allow it to test new markets in coming seasons.

Retail sales rose by 22.7% to £159.1m on a reported basis, attributed to the brand’s “total retail”, omnichannel model.

“We’re making sure we are putting the brand and product where the customer chooses to shop,” Porter explained. “We are agnostic as to where they choose to shop, and we’ve encouraged browsing in one channel and purchasing in another. It’s very much customer first rather than channel first.”

“We have been able to adapt to the demands of the customer because of the flexibility and joined-up nature of our systems.”

The business has also started shifted to a “concessions based” model with large retailers, including John Lewis, rather than a traditional wholesale model.

“This allows us to have more control over the offer that we give to the customer,” said Porter. “It is a flexible, integrated retail model.”

Joules is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and events and celebrations culminate in September.

CEO Colin Porter will step down from the business later this year and is set to be replaced by Nick Jones, who joins from supermarket Asda. Jones will join Joules before the end of the year and, following a short hand-over period, Porter will then step down.

Readers' comments (2)

  • They might be putting the customer first, but not their independent retailers - Summer Sale started today! Mmm - Summer just began 6 days ago!

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  • I can’t believe any indies can afford to stock Joules now, their website makes you as stockist look like you are ripping off your customers every week with their continual discounts and offers, the same can be said of many of these “Omni channel “brands!

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