Joules has confirmed weekend speculation that Next is set to acquire a minority stake in the lifestyle retailer for around £15m.
Sky News reported at the weekend that the high street staple had been in talks with Joules for several weeks over a deal.
Now, Joules has confirmed these discussions are taking place, with talks over a “potential equity investment” raising proceeds of c.£15m.
This would be “at no less than Joules’ current market price,” and mean the fashion giant would become a strategic minority shareholder in the group.
The struggling retailer and Next were also discussing Next adopting its Total Platform services “to support the group’s long term growth plans.”
The equity investment would be subject to approval by Joules’ shareholders, the statement added.
“There can be no certainty these discussions will lead to any agreement. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate,” it concluded.
Joules has struggled with rising costs and a slowdown in consumer confidence in recent months as the UK high street struggles with historic levels of inflation.
Last month, Joules said discount-hungry consumers had intensified pressures on margins with gross margins having “remained under significant pressure” after “consumer appetite” was focused on marked down products.
Shoppers have been hunting for reductions amid monster hikes in energy and fuel bills, with Joules citing a “heavily promotional environment.”
The retailer’s share price has fallen some 88 per cent in the past year.