Joules reported strong sales growth in its first-half

Joules reported strong sales growth in its first-half

UK fashion retailer Joules has offered an optimistic outlook as it delivered strong growth across all channels in its first-half.

Group revenue grew 16.2% in the six months ended 27 November to GBP81.4m (US$102.5m) from GBP70.1m in the year ago period, reflecting the brand's increasing footprint, growing customer base and the strong performance of both new and core ranges across product categories.

Retail revenue was up 15.8% to GBP56.7m, driven by growth across stores and e-commerce and the addition of ten new stores during the period. Wholesale revenues increased 17.2% to GBP24.5m thanks to development in international markets including expanded product ranges within key US wholesale accounts and the launch of kidswear in a new partnership with a US department store.

Gross margin in the period is expected to have increased by around 100 basis points against the prior year, benefiting from a higher proportion of full price sales, enhanced distribution efficiencies, and a favourable product mix within international wholesale sales.

"The group has continued to perform well throughout the first half of the financial year delivering strong growth across all channels," says CEO Colin Porter. "This reflects the strong appeal and quality of our products as well as the appeal of the Joules brand to both new and existing customers.

"We look forward with confidence to the second half of the financial year and beyond, despite the uncertain macro-economic outlook. We have seen strong growth in our wholesale order book for Spring/Summer 17 and we are well positioned for the Christmas trading period."

Kate Ormrod, senior analyst at Verdict Retail, says that while unseasonal weather has plagued the high street, Joules has proved resilient due to its broad offer and relevant transitional ranges.

She adds: "Given its upper mid-market to premium positioning, Joules will need to justify price points via quality, design, style and service credentials, while emphasising its unique brand ethos to remain differentiated and top of mind."

Joules will update on Christmas trading in early January and publish its interim results on 31 January 2017.