Joules, the Market Harborough-based lifestyle brand, has witnessed a decline in footfall and revenue since the outbreak of COVID-19.
In the weeks following the announcement of the Group’s Interim results on 21 January 2020, the firm said its key retail channels performed in line with expectations.
However, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, the Group has experienced a decline in store footfall and revenue, which has “significantly accelerated over recent days.”
The Group’s e-commerce channel has also been affected, as consumers have shown increasing caution with disposable income. These trends are also likely to impact the Group’s sales through its concession and wholesale trading partners in the UK and internationally.
The Board expects COVID-19 to continue to have an impact on its business and the retail sector over the coming months.
Joules said it is “taking prudent actions to manage the near term challenges whilst ensuring the business remains well positioned to deliver its long term growth plans. These actions include removing cost and non-critical capex from the business. Furthermore, the Board has decided to cancel the proposed interim dividend, saving £0.7m of cash.”
Joules continued: “The Board welcomes the measures that the UK Government has thus far announced to support retailers and impacted employees across the sector. However, we strongly echo the position of the British Retail Consortium and other senior retail leaders that more urgent action is needed to provide support to those working in retail during these challenging and uncertain times.”
Nick Jones, CEO of Joules, said: “The challenges that all retailers are currently facing are unprecedented in modern times. Our immediate and over-riding objective is to ensure the wellbeing and protection of our colleagues and our customers. Our teams continue to demonstrate a flexible, can-do attitude during this testing time, and I would like to thank my colleagues across the world for their continued commitment and positivity.
“While the Group’s near-term profitability will be impacted by the sector-wide effects of COVID-19, the Board is remaining focused on protecting long-term value for its stakeholders and managing the near-term pressures on the business.
“We have an outstanding, unique brand and a fantastic team. I am very confident that Joules will successfully emerge from this very difficult period in a position to continue to deliver its exciting long-term growth plans.”