Joules expects annual loss despite e-sales surging in lockdown

British fashion and lifestyle brand Joules has said it expects to make an underlying loss of between two to three million pounds for the year to 31 May following the closure of its stores across the UK due to Covid-19.

Group revenue for the year was down 12 percent to 191 million pounds. Retail sales were approximately 146 million pounds with store sales down approximately 20 percent and e-commerce sales up around 5 percent (up 11 percent through its own site). Wholesale sales, which were heavily impacted by disruptions caused by Covid-19, were down 26 percent to 42 million pounds.

But it wasn’t all bad news. The company’s e-sales increased by 40 percent in the period from March to May when stores in the UK were closed. In the same period, its collection of wholesale receivables was “better than previously anticipated”.

Joules remains upbeat

In terms of stock management, Joules said it has “worked collaboratively” with product suppliers to reduce its AW20 inventory commitments and to add more flexibility to the SS21 inventory commitments. “This will enable the business to adjust the value of its stock purchasing closer to the season when management anticipate having better visibility of trading conditions,” the company said.

The company also said its new digital marketplace, ‘Friends of Joules’, which it launched in 2019, has performed “very well, with sales and customer engagement surpassing initial expectations”.

The group ended FY20 with net cash of 4 million pounds and headroom of 53 million pounds against committed borrowing facilities.

CEO Nick Jones remained upbeat about the company's performance. “Whilst this continues to be an exceptionally challenging period for people, communities and businesses, I am delighted with how Joules has responded over recent months. We were quick to adapt to the initial disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic by bolstering our liquidity position, preserving cash and focusing our trading online,” he said. “We are very encouraged with the significant 40 percent growth in e-commerce demand during the lockdown period, which is particularly pleasing given the already established scale of our e-commerce operations.”

Jones continued: “As we move out of lockdown and into a ‘new normal’ for retail, I am confident that Joules is exceptionally well positioned to continue to react to changing consumer behaviours and that our brand - which brightens our customers’ lives - is more relevant than ever to consumers. Whilst we will continue to face very challenging trading conditions over the coming months, the Joules customer base continues to grow, and I believe the brand is stronger than ever.”

Photo credit: Joules, Facebook


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