Joules shrugs off retail gloom with jump in profits

Joules, the fashion brand known for its colourful wellington boots and country-inspired gilets, has brightened up the retail sector by boosting profit forecasts on the back of strong sales. 
Pre-tax profits jumped by 22.8pc to ?8.3m in the six months to end of November while group sales lifted by 18.2pc to ?96.2m during the period. As a result the company now expects full year profits to be ahead of City expectations.
The upbeat sentiment is a welcome change from the gloom around the retail sector, which has led companies including Mothercare, Debenhams, Card Factory, Carpetright and Moss Bros to issue profit warnings after dismal Christmas trading
Earlier this month Joules also revealed that it had grown sales by 19.2pc over the seven weeks to January 7, despite shunning the discount frenzy that had struck most of the high street.
The company grew its retail sales by 16.2pc over the six months to the end of November, with shop sales rising by 14.2pc despite complaints of lower high street footfall. Wholesale revenue lifted by 23pc while its international business increased sales by 26.4pc and now accounts 11.3pc of total group sales. 
Joules shrugs off retail gloom with jump in profits

Joules attracts families of shoppers
Colin Porter, chief executive, said that the Joules brand had shrugged off the downbeat backdrop by "standing out from the rest of crowd". He added the location of its stores in market towns and country locations appealed to families while they were out walking or doing other leisure activities rather than relying on people making a trip to the high street.
The brand has also been bolstered by its licensing deals to sell Joules patterns on DFS sofas, branded toiletries in chemist chain Boots, and glasses at Vision Express.
"Joules’ business model allows it to spread the risk across trading channels, enabling it to be more agile in the challenging UK retail environment," said Charlotte Pearce of GlobalData. "Wholesale, which accounts for almost one third of group revenue, remains an area of strong growth for Joules, demonstrating the brand's growing global appeal," she added. 
Joules said that it now counted more than a million active customers following its push overseas. The company opened 10 new stores during the period, taking the number of UK shops to 118 in the UK and Ireland. The brand is also stocked in 1,500 concessions worldwide with the US and Germany being its largest international markets.
Despite the profit upgrade shares in Joules fell by 4.9p, or 1.5pc, to 320p in mid-morning trading after rising by 14pc since the start of the year.
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