AN upmarket clothing company which began when its founder sold products at country shows has celebrated its 25th anniversary with revenue growth of more than 20 per cent.
The British lifestyle brand Joules also saw retail sales from its stores increase by 36 per cent, and ecommerce and catalogue sales increase by a similar amount.
Its report covering its performance to May 25 last year, showed international sales leapt by 44 per cent.
During the period it opened another 19 stores in the UK, and this expansion has continued with another 14 opening since last May, taking its total to 99. It has a large presence in York, as well as Leeds, Harrogate, Beverley and Ilkley.
The company says its strong growth reflects its customers’ strong connection with the brand as well as its increasing presence across distribution channels.
Total revenue increased by 21.3 per cent to £96.3m and profit before tax and exceptional items grew by more than 23 per cent to £5.1m.
The company was founded by Tom Joule who began in 1989 by selling outdoor clothing at country shows in the East Midlands.
He saw a gap in the market for products characterised by print and colour, to reflect the character of people who love the outdoors.
Since selling his first product in a field, the company has become famed for its colourful designs and prints.
Joules sold a minority stake to Yorkshire-based private equity investors Lloyds Development Capital, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, for £22m in 2013.
Mr Joule remains the majority shareholder and continues to lead the business.
He was delighted with the latest results which the company believes reflects the strength and popularity of the brand.
He said: “This was an exceptional period for the business as we continued to deliver strong progress against our strategy of developing Joules as an international lifestyle brand.
“We remain resolutely focussed on carefully growing Joules in the UK and internationally whilst ensuring the brand remains loved by existing customers and attracting new ones.
“This has resulted in strong growth across a ll of the brand’s distribution channels.
“The brand continues to build momentum in the UK and enjoys a positive early reaction in international markets, underpinned by the quality of our products.
“We remain excited about the growth opportunities across our markets. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of our skilled team at Joules who helped to deliver this strong performance.”
Joules is continuing to invest in its plans for long-term growth. As well as opening the new outlets, it is investing in infrastructure with the installation of a new epos system in stores, a new warehouse management system to accommodate additional volumes and several enhancements to its online presence.
The company says a key pillar of its growth strategy is capitalising on the significant opportunity for the brand through overseas expansion, primarily through wholesale.
It says the appeal of strong British brands in international markets remains as strong as ever and Joules’ “fun, quirky and unique personality” resonates with the international customer.
International sales rose by 46 per cent to the end of May, and are up a further 74 per cent in the year to date, driven by particularly strong customer reaction in the USA and Germany.
Meanwhile, wholesale sales, the most established of its distribution channels, continued to experience good growth, up five per cent against the same period a year earlier.
The show went on
Tom Joule started Joules in 1989 after learning the ropes in his father, Ian’s, clothing shop.
The first Joules shop, in Market Harborough, had been a cobblers for more than 100 years. The company was built on supplying clothing at country shows, and faced big problems when most events were cancelled because of foot and mouth disease in 2001.
Tom Joule then contacted shops who jumped at the chance to work with Joules.