UK fashion and homewares retailer Next confirmed the anticipated launch for Joules’ TP site will now be earlier than expected, in October 2023, thanks to progress by its technology teams. The earlier proposed launch was March 2024.

The Next Total Platform leverages its infrastructure by offering a complete suite of online services to third-party brands; providing services such as websites, marketing, warehousing, distribution networks and contact centres.

The scope of the planned services for Joules will be significantly wider, Next says. In addition to existing TP services, Joules will use the following systems:

  • Product systems, encompassing stock planning, budgeting, contract management, progressing, imports and inbound administration.  This will enable them to take advantage of the Group’s inbound freight and duty arrangements. 
  • Finance, payments and accounting systems, including accounts payable services, management information, profitability analysis and more.
  • HR systems, which will, in time, include store man-hour rota and planning systems and payroll.

At this stage, Next plans to provide all these services to Joules on a cost-plus basis.

Joules will remain an independent company (74% owned by Next) with its own board and management team. However ,the team, led by founder Tom Joule, will be entirely focused on product, marketing and brand development, highlighted Next.

Adding further, Next clarified that as part of these changes, a number of tasks performed by Joules personnel will be absorbed into Next teams or no longer be needed.

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“Joules is in the process of consulting with colleagues to let them know how they will be affected. Where roles are no longer required, Next will be working with those affected to ensure that they are considered for any suitable vacancies at Next, whose head office is located close to Joules’ headquarters in Market Harborough. It is anticipated that those remaining with Joules (i.e. the senior management, product and marketing teams) will continue to work from Joules’ existing offices.”

A representative from Next told Just Style exclusively: “All those unfortunate to lose their job at Joules are being given a very significant/unusual six months’ notice period (often it’s much less in these circumstances) – and this also applies to lower admin roles.”

The retailer said the changes are going to take effect from October.

Joules was acquired out of administration after Next Plc confirmed it had partnered with Tom Joule in a deal worth £34m ($41.5m) last year in December. A move that was considered ‘positive’ by industry onlookers.