Belfast Telegraph

Joules chief executive hails strong progress as profits surge at clothing brand

Upmarket clothing brand Joules is "confident" of another strong year after posting surging profits and sales.

The Market Harborough-based group - famous for its posh wellies - bucked woes seen among rival fashion retailers, with a 34% hike in underlying pre-tax profits to £10.1 million in the year to May 28.

Revenues soared 19.6% to £157 million, while underlying earnings jumped 25.3%, as the group hailed its "strong brand momentum".

Joules, which listed on the AIM market last year, said this solid performance was set to continue into the new financial year, despite an "uncertain" economic climate.

Chief executive officer Colin Porter said: "2017 was another very exciting year for the group as the Joules brand continued to expand and develop across distribution channels and product categories both in the UK and internationally.

"The strong progress delivered during the year was again underpinned by the group's steadfast focus on its growing and loyal customer base, product quality and delivering engaging experiences across all channels."

Overall, retail sales were up 19.4% with e-commerce up by almost 30% and store sales up by 17.5%.

Wholesale sales lifted by about 20.3% thanks to strong demand in the UK and overseas.

Eleven new stores were opened over the year, taking the total in the UK and Ireland to 108.

The retailer plans to open another 10 to 12 over the year ahead, while also pushing further into new product ranges.

Its overseas business has also performed well, with international sales jumping 36.2%. That business now represents over a tenth of the group's total revenue.

Mr Porter said: "The board remains confident that the group's momentum will continue into FY18, despite the uncertain macro-economic outlook.

"This confidence is supported by the growth in our customer base, our exciting new store opening plans, a robust autumn/winter wholesale order book both in the UK and internationally, and positive early feedback on our spring/summer 2018 ranges from wholesale customers."

Joules shares rose 0.83% to 304p on today's results announcement.