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Joules is back in the black

Lifestyle brand and retailer Joules has returned to profit after boosting its senior management team and finishing a restructuring programme.

The 40-store retailer posted a pre-tax profit of £1.2m for the year to May 27, 2012, up from a loss of £535,000 for the previous financial year.

Joules attributed the turnaround in profitability to the appointment of a new senior management team - including finance director Marc Lombado who moved from Blacks Leisure last year - and the successful integration of a new warehouse management system, which delivered greater operational efficiencies to the business.

Joules, which sells country fashion through retail, home shopping and wholesale channels, said it had grown its customer base in the past year and as a result group sales increased by 9.3% to £66.6m.

The retailer said it is expanding both in the UK and is eyeing international markets in Europe, USA and South East Asia to drive future sales.

Joules has also confirmed the sale of the Rampant Sporting brand. Joules acquired the sports heritage brand in 2010 and opened two standalone stores under the Rampant Sporting name in 2011.

Rampant Sporting contributed losses of £400,000 to the Joules business in the previous financial year and Joules said it was no longer sufficiently resourced to support the business.

The retailer’s directors said in their report: “The economic climate in the past year has been extremely challenging and has driven high levels of discounting and promotions among most high street retailers. Despite this uncertainty Joules has grown its customer base during this period whilst retaining the loyalty of its existing customers.

“A strong pipeline of new store opportunities has been established and through the experience of recent store openings the business has established a successful store template.”

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