Retailer Joules begins planning for hard Brexit

Retailer Joules is setting up an EU distribution hub and ordering products early as part of contingency plans for a potential hard Brexit.

The group also said that it is bracing for expected increased administrative activities and is ramping up its currency hedging activities in anticipation of volatility in the pound as Brexit day approaches.

Businesses across the country are preparing for a worst case hard Brexit scenario, which would see imports and exports delayed, ports and roads gridlocked and the pound come under extreme pressure.

Joules said in a trading update: “Contingency plans have been put in place to mitigate the expected disruption that could arise in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’.

“These plans include establishing an EU-based third party distribution facility; scheduling earlier inbound product deliveries for our Spring/Summer 2019 ranges; preparation for expected increased administrative activities; and hedging US Dollar requirements more than 12 months forward.”

Joules made the announcement alongside stellar figures released for the first half, which saw revenue for the period increased by 17.6% to £113.1 million.

Retail sales grew 21.2% to £79.9 million, defying the wider gloom on the UK high street.

Given the performance, Joules expects underlying pre-tax profit to come in slightly ahead of expectations.

The results were boosted by international sales in the likes of the US and Germany, and global sales now account for approximately half of total wholesale revenue.

Boss Colin Porter said: “I am delighted to update on what has been another period of strong performance for Joules despite challenging trading conditions.

“This performance, which is ahead of our initial expectations for the Period, is testament to the strength of the Joules brand, the engagement of our loyal customers with our product collections, and our fantastic teams.

“In the UK, our ‘total retail’ cross-channel model, underpinned by investment in infrastructure, has proven to be well suited to today’s rapidly changing consumer shopping behaviours.”