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Profits rocket at Joules after shoppers snap up new ranges

Operating profits at Joules almost tripled in the year to May 1, which the lifestyle business put down to customers responding to new ranges and being undeterred by the downturn.

Total sales were £51.1m during the year, up from £35m the year before, and operating profits rose from £2m to £5.2m. Retail sales, including multichannel sales, climbed 26% to £25.4m, while wholesale sales in the UK increased 68% to hit £21.4m.

Revenues at Joules are now split equally between its retail division and wholesale division. The latter experienced a 51% increase in sales to £4.2m from its international business, which has 1,250 accounts across 10 countries and seven franchise stores.

Joules, which in the UK has 900 accounts, 35 stores, eight concessions and seven franchise store, said it had improved its fashion credentials and built credibility with customers by launching ranges such as its higher-end Boutique collection.

Founder and managing director Tom Joule said he was targeting sales of £70m in the current financial year and that expansion in the UK and overseas was a key part of the business’s growth for the year. He also attributed the success of the retailer, which was originally established as an online and catalogue retailer, to its multichannel roots.

“About 40% of our retail sales are web sales, and even though we are opening more stores I don’t ever see that falling below 15%, as this is where the business started,” he said.

In the UK, Joules will target store openings in city centres for the first time and is poised to sign for its first London store in Covent Garden, followed by openings in Leeds, York and Edinburgh. It will open nine standalone stores this year.

The business, which has traditionally had stores in market and seaside towns, is also seeking larger stores to accommodate its growing offer. It is looking for locations of between 1,000 sq ft and 3,500 sq ft.

Joules will also seek to up its portfolio in France and Scandinavia via its established franchise partners.

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