Joules appoints administrators amid ‘overwhelming’ interest from suitors
Administrators were appointed for beleaguered lifestyle retailer Joules on Wednesday, with some 1,600 staff members at risk.
Will Wright, Ryan Grant and Chris Pole from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators for the high street firm, which has struggled with a slowdown in sales.
Administrators from Interpath were also appointed for its developments arm and The Garden Trading Company.
The group, which presently runs 132 stores across the UK, said all of its stores will remain open, in addition to its online store.
Joint administrators will continue to trade the Leicestershire-based company as a going concern while they assess options for the business.
This means the possibility of a sale is on the cards, with analysts speculating that there would be a lot of interest for the brand, since it is based on British heritage.
Joules was “one of the most recognisable names on the high street, with a unique brand identity and loyal customer base,” Will Wright, head of restructuring at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said.
After the group warned of its demise on Monday, there had been “an overwhelming amount of interest from interested parties,” Wright added.
He said: ” We will be working hard over the days ahead to assess this interest, but at this stage we are optimistic that we will be able to secure a future for this great British brand.”
The company suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange on Monday after emergency rescue attempts failed.
In a statement on Monday morning, the fashion firm said that talks with potential investors for an equity raise process “have not been successful and have now been terminated”.
Joules had been rocked by sliding sales and soaring costs as inflation hits the retail sector this year, while a mild autumn has dampened demand for its jumpers and wellington boots products.
“Although it will need a modern twist to help it survive longer term, there is likely to be significant interest in the name and the intellectual property,” Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
The retailer may have emerged unscathed from the current consumer spending slowdown had its “product ranges had been better diversified and the design teams had kept up with the trends,” Streeter added.
While younger shoppers started being drawn to the athleisure on offer from fast fashion firms, even Joules’ core customer base had been “falling out of love” with its floral fashion, she said.
Although it is difficult for a company based on British heritage to “move with the times,” the collapse of the retailer was evidence that” fast moving fashion trends can cause serious damage to slow coaches,” Streeter said.