Shares in AIM-listed clothing company Joules (LON:JOUL) dropped 3.94% to 163.30p (as of 16:00 GMT) after the firm reported that a strong online performance during the half year ended 26th November was not enough to outweigh the impact of COVID on trading. Revenues for the 26 weeks were down by 15.3% with store opening hours at about 60% of their 2019 levels.
CEO Nick Jones commented: “The strength of our digital proposition, the increased number of Joules customers and the growing appeal of the brand has meant that Joules has continued to trade well during the Period, despite the impact of enforced store closures.
“We delivered a good Black Friday trading period through our online channel and our Friends of Joules digital marketplace continues to perform ahead of our expectations. We have strong momentum – particularly through our online channel – and a good stock position that underpins our confidence for the peak Christmas trading period. We have been pleased with the performance of our stores in England for the first few days since their re-opening in early December.
“As anticipated, our wholesale sales have been subdued in the first half, however an improved performance over recent weeks and the positive response to our spring/summer 21 ranges, that were sold-in via our digital B2B sales platform, gives us confidence for the recovery of the wholesale channel over the coming seasons.
“The retail sector continues to face a number of near and medium-term challenges, including the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on our communities and economy as well as Brexit-related uncertainties. I have no doubt that Joules, underpinned by the strength of our brand and our flexible and scalable platform that now includes our Friends of Joules digital marketplace, is well positioned to be one of the long-term winners against this challenging backdrop.“