British clothing retailer Next has acquired a majority stake in struggling heritage brand Joules through a newly formed company for 34 million pounds in cash.
In a regulatory filing, Next said it has partnered with Joules’ founder Tom Joule to acquire the company out of administration.
The company has already acquired the current Joules head office for seven million pounds in cash.
Through its agreement, Next will own 74 percent of the equity, with the remaining 26 percent to be owned by Joule.
The retailer said it intends to continue operating a “significant number of stores” – around 100 of its current 124 – in the UK and Ireland.
From today, 19 Joules stores will be closed by administrators, however, most Joules staff will remain with the business.
19 stores to close today
Next added that the brand will retain its management autonomy and creative independence, as well as operate its own board of directors from its base in Market Harborough.
By early 2024, the retailer plans to migrate Joules onto its Next Total Platform, allowing the brand access to its delivery and customer service experiences.
The platform will operate Joules’ websites and online operations, both in the UK and overseas, while also providing warehousing and distribution services for all forms of Joules’ business.
Jonathon Brown, who was appointed Joules’ CEO in 2022, will remain in his role, while founder Joule will, upon completion of the acquisition, take the lead in re-establishing the identity of the brand and product.
His presence will also ensure there is a leadership continuity for staff, suppliers and other key stakeholders.
In 2019, Joule stepped down to a non-executive director role, however, as the company descended into administration, returned to an executive position as product director.
Speaking on the acquisition, Joule said: "After three years away from the operational side, I'm truly looking forward to inspiring teams with clear direction to excite and recapture the imagination of the customer again.
“Our customers have always trusted us to lead, not follow, with products that reflect their lifestyle. It's important that we live up to the high standards they desire in design, quality and, with Next’s Total Platform delivery and customer support proposition, the service they expect.
“I'm so pleased that we have been able to strike a deal that protects the future of the company for all its loyal customers, its employees and also for the town of Market Harborough, which have been so central to Joules' success."