Joules, the lifestyle retailer, experienced a successful Christmas trading period online, according to its latest trading update. The company’s total retail sales through its websites and the Friends of Joules digital marketplace saw a remarkable 66% increase compared to the previous year. This impressive growth can be attributed to the increased traffic and improved conversion rates across Joules’ digital platforms. However, it is worth noting that while online sales soared, in-store sales experienced a sharp decline of 58%. This was a result of the enforced closures of non-essential stores and reduced footfall during the limited opening times.

Even when stores were allowed to open, the revenue remained 23% lower than the previous year, as visitor traffic remained subdued. There was a noticeable drop in the last two weeks of the period, which may be attributed to consumers heeding the government’s “stay safe” Covid warnings. Despite the challenges posed by store closures, Joules managed to avoid an overall sales decline. Retail revenue through its own-branded retail channels actually increased by 0.3%, with the growth in e-commerce sales compensating for the decline from physical stores.

Joules also saw improvements in its brand awareness and brand health metrics during this period. The active customer base continued to grow, reaching over 1.5 million active customers by the end of the festive season. Additionally, the company maintained a strong financial position with £13 million in net cash and a total liquidity headroom of £63 million at the start of the year.

Despite these positive results, Joules remains cautious about its outlook. Currently, all of its stores are closed, and if this situation continues until April 1, along with wholesale customer closures and the cancellation of country shows where it also sells its products, the company could miss out on revenues between £14 million and £18 million. However, there is optimism that stores could reopen earlier than anticipated due to the ongoing vaccination program. Joules also expects that even in a worst-case scenario, the impact on its full-year figures will be mitigated by its stronger-than-expected festive trading season, robust digital sales, and cost-cutting efforts.

Useful links:
Joules Official Website
UK Government Covid-19 Information