Joules shows signs of recovery from COVID-19 as online sales remain buoyant

Following today’s release of Joules Q1 figures for 2020/21, Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, commented: ‘‘Joules has proved its resilience and the strength of its brand appeal as its retail revenue only fell by 5%, protected by strong sales growth online despite already high online penetration (57% in FY2019/20).

This was nearly able to offset a 49% decline in retail store sales, with Joules’ shops reopening gradually from mid-June to be fully opened by early August.

Stores performed ahead of the board’s expectations, as the retailer will have benefitted from its significant presence in smaller towns where footfall has been more resilient than in larger towns and cities. The retailer has also been protected by its focus on casualwear, which will continue to be an outperformer in clothing & footwear as consumers are once again encouraged to work from home.

Wholesale put a dampener on Joules’ results as revenue fell by 59%, with sales via department stores in the US such as Nordstrom and Dillard’s slow to recover. As Joules places an increasing emphasis on its own channels, it should assess which retailers it works with, with US department stores struggling before COVID-19 as they continue to lose relevance among shoppers. Retail sales through Joules’ owned retail channels grew by 1.5%, boosted by a 63% rise in sales through its own online platforms. This is testament to the retailer’s ‘Total Retail’ model as its online channel has been able to cope with increased demand; as well as its distinctive style and wide product proposition that resonates with shoppers.

As Joules approaches the festive period and it is expected that consumers will be denied the chance to celebrate as usual due to the additional restrictions in the UK including the “rule of six”, it is well positioned to benefit from increased spend on causal, cosy and versatile items as opposed to partywear. Additionally, the retailer reported that its Friends of Joules marketplace is trading well and will to continue to do so as many consumers will focus on giving smaller, more thoughtful gifts, and wish to continue to support independent businesses.”

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