Belfast Telegraph

Cosy first half for Joules as pop-a-pom bobble hats help sales surge ahead

Bobble hats with changeable pom poms have helped upmarket clothing brand Joules ring up a double-digit hike in sales as shoppers snapped up its winter warmers.

The group, which has 107 stores across the UK and Ireland, said revenues leapt 16.2% higher to £81.4 million in its first half to November 27.

Retail sales across stores and websites rose 15.8% to £56.7 million, with recent best- sellers including its pop-a-pom bobble hat with interchangeable pom pom, as well as its padded gilets.

The Market Harborough-based group was also boosted by a strong performance in the US, where its classic British fashion credentials are proving popular with shoppers - with its coats and colourful wellies in demand.

This helped half-year wholesale revenues rise 17.2% to £24.5 million.

Its international sales are made largely through wholesalers, with a focus on Germany and the US.

The group said it had recently expanded product ranges within key US wholesale accounts and launched kidswear in American through a new partnership with a department store.

Joules chief executive Colin Porter said the group had seen strong growth across all its sales channels.

He added: " 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."

But shares fell 4% despite the sales hike.

The stock has had a bumpy ride since Joules floated in May and has struggled to stay above its initial public offering (IPO) price of 194p a share.

Its IPO on London's junior market saw founder Tom Joule pocket £40 million as he trimmed his 80% stake to below 50%.

Mr Joule founded the fashion retailer in 1989.