Troubled high-street fashion brand Joules bought by rival Next but 19 stores still to close

1 December 2022, 15:45 | Updated: 1 December 2022, 16:22

Retailer Joules Nears Collapse Risking 1600 jobs
Retailer Joules Nears Collapse Risking 1600 jobs. Picture: Getty
Fran Way

By Fran Way

Troubled high-street fashion brand Joules will still close shops after it was bought by retail rival Next.

Next said it plans to continue to run around 100 of Joules's 124 stores and transfer over around 1,450 shop and head office workers.

The deal will see Next own a 74% stake in the business, with founder Tom Joule owning the remaining 26%.

The company drafted in experts from Interpath Advisory last month after failing to secure emergency funding following a surge in costs and slowdown in demand.

Retailer Joules Nears Collapse Risking 1600 jobs
Retailer Joules Nears Collapse Risking 1600 jobs. Picture: Getty

Next and Tom Joule beat competition from South African firm Foschini Group, which owns the Whistles and Phase Eight brands.

Joules has been bought for £34 million, with Next also snapping up Joules's head office in Market Harborough for £7 million.

Chief executive officer Jonathon Brown will continue to lead Joules, with Next saying the brand will retain management autonomy.

Next said most Joules staff will remain with the business in the long term and confirmed plans to shift Joules on to its Next Total platform system.

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Tom Joule said: "After three years away from the operational side, I'm truly looking forward to inspiring teams with clear direction to excite and recapture the imagination of the customer again.

"I'm so pleased that we have been able to strike a deal that protects the future of the company for all its loyal customers, its employees and also for the town of Market Harborough, which have been so central to Joules's success."

Will Wright, joint administrator and head of restructuring at Interpath, said: "We are pleased to have concluded this transaction, which secures the future of this great British brand, as well as safeguarding a significant number of jobs.

"To have achieved this in such a short timetable is testament to the support we've received from employees, suppliers and other key stakeholders throughout the administration process, so we'd like to express our profound thanks to everyone involved."

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Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said: "We are excited to see what can be achieved through the combination of Joules's exceptional product, marketing and brand building skills with Next's Total Platform infrastructure."

Next recently bought the brand, websites and intellectual property of online furniture business Made.com after it also collapsed.

The administration resulted in 320 redundancies, while a further 79 workers who had resigned and were working their notice were forced to immediately leave.

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