Joules set for ‘significant loss’ after hot weather harms sales

Fashion brand Joules has said it is braced for a “significant” loss after hot weather compounded weakened demand from customers, adding to the retailer’s recent woes.

Shares in the business plummeted by around a third in early trading on Friday.

The retailer has seen its shares dive by almost 90% over the past 12 months after a raft of profit warnings.

On Friday, Joules told shareholders that increased customer appetite towards discounted products has put extra pressure on its profitability since it provided a positive update last month.

It said “trading has softened materially” over the latest five weeks as full-price sales of coats, knitwear and wellies have all been hampered by extremely hot and dry summer weather.

Joules said this added to ongoing subdued demand from customers facing soaring household bills.

Sales for the 11 weeks to August 14 are therefore down 8% against the same period last year, the retailer said.

Wholesale sales have been broadly positive, rising 10% year-on-year despite delays at US ports.

However, it stressed that wholesale trading for its garden products has been “significantly impacted” by a slowdown in demand in recent months.

In a statement, Joules said: “As a result of the recent softness in trading and the current weak consumer sentiment set out above, the board expects a significant loss in the first half, followed by an improved performance in the second half as the benefits of business simplification begin to be realised.

“In light of this, the board currently expects the group to deliver a full-year loss before tax, and before adjusting items, significantly below current market expectations.”

The group also told investors is it continuing “positive” discussions with Next over a deal which could see the retail giant buy a minority stake in Joules.

Shares were 34.6% lower at 28.75p in early trading.