Next and Tom Joule have successfully acquired British retailer Joules in a surprise £41 million deal, saving 1,450 jobs in the process. Earlier, Next had pulled out of a deal to buy a minority stake but returned to make a full acquisition after the involvement of Tom Joule himself, emphasizing the importance of preserving the physical stores. Other companies like M&S and Frasers Group were also rumored to have shown interest in purchasing Joules.

The administration process for Joules began last month, but the administrators were confident about attracting interest from major players in the UK retail industry. The acquisition by Next ensures that the company’s head office in Market Harborough will remain intact. While 24 out of the 1,600 stores will be closed, the remaining 100 stores will maintain their “management autonomy and creative independence.”

Furthermore, in addition to the physical stores, Next will also take control of the Joules website, which will be migrated to the Next Total Platform – a platform already utilized by brands like Gap and Victoria’s Secret in the UK.

The deal details unveil that Next now owns 74% of the business, while Tom Joule retains a 26% ownership stake, representing a significant increase from the 25% stake Next had initially considered buying earlier this year.

While the acquisition is positive for Joules, it is important to note that Next’s recent acquisition of Made.com resulted in significant job losses. Acknowledging this, Tom Joule emphasized the need for Joules to maintain its high standards in design, quality, and service, expressing excitement about capturing customers’ imagination once again.

Overall, the acquisition of Joules by Next and Tom Joule is viewed as a favorable outcome, with a majority of jobs retained and the physical stores preserved. This offers hope for a successful future for the popular British retailer.

For more information on the acquisition, you can visit these links:

1. Reuters
2. Financial Times