Joules’ chief executive underlined the benefits of the lifestyle brand’s multichannel strategy today, as he confirmed rising revenues and profits for the year following its launch on London Stock Exchange’s Aim market in May.
Joules autumn 16
“We go to where our customers are, so that could [mean selling] in an independent store or a department store like John Lewis, through Next Labels, in one of our own stores, online or even on the show circuit,” said Colin Porter, who became chief executive in September last year, allowing founder Tom Joule to focus on the brand and creative design.
Joules has previously stated its intention to open between 10 and 12 stores per year for the foreseeable future, and Porter said its balance of retail and wholesale accounts was working well.
The firm had 97 stores in the UK by the year to 29 May, and opened eight stores in locations including Bromley, Stratford-upon-Avon and Wells-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk in the first quarter of the new financial year.
New stores in the pipeline include Leeds and Chelmsford, where Joules will also be sold in newly opened branches of John Lewis.
Porter said this combination of wholesale stockists and own retail “works well, as we are still in the phase of building awareness”.
“There are many examples of where we’ve worked across channels that complement each other,” he said. “In John Lewis in [Bristol mall] Cribbs Causeway, for example, sales lifted after we opened our own store nearby.
“It means we can offer the full range and the customer can choose where they want to shop, be it in an indie, a department store or our own store.”
He said strong orders for spring 17 – from independents and multiples – are a reflection of the state of the wholesale business, following a strong sell-through for spring 16.
While a number of successive mild winters may have caused some brands and retailers to keep their stock levels tight for autumn 16, Porter said Joules is relatively well placed thanks to its broad ranges.
“Because we’re a lifestyle brand, we have products suitable for anything from dropping the kids off at school to walking the dog and family activities at the weekend,” he said.
“In terms of outwear, we have lightweight waterproof raincoats through to medium-weight quilted jackets and heavier padded coats, so we weren’t complaining about the weather last year. We have a broad offer that covers all eventualities in terms of weather.
“We’re feeling optimistic about the season ahead,” he concluded.