NEXT confirms Joules acquisition and announces 19 store closures

Joules, the premium British lifestyle brand, has confirmed that its Founder Tom Joule has partnered with NEXT to acquire the majority of its assets via a newly formed company.

The deal has seen NEXT pay £34 million for the business, as well as £7 million for the current Joules head office building. NEXT will own 74% of the equity with the remaining 26% owned by Joule.

The company intends to continue to operate a significant number of stores (reportedly around 100 of the current 124 Joules’ stores) in the UK and Ireland, subject to agreeing terms with landlords. 19 stores will be closed by the administrator today.

Joules will retain its management autonomy and creative independence. It will also have its own Board of Directors and continue to be based in Market Harborough. Most Joules staff will remain with the business and Joules will go live on NEXT’s Total Platform in early 2024.

Tom Joule, Joules Founder, 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. Our customers have always trusted us to lead, not follow, with products that reflect their lifestyle. It’s important that we live up to the high standards they desire in design, quality and, with NEXT’s Total Platform delivery and customer support proposition, the service they expect.

“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’ success.”

Joules was founded in 1989 by Tom Joule, who has been central to the brand’s growth and success. Joule passed accountability for design to the Joules creative teams in 2019 and moved to a Non-Executive Director role. He has recently stepped back into an Executive role as Product Director and intends, upon completion of the Proposed Transaction, to “take the lead in re-establishing the clear identity of both brand and product”.

Jonathon Brown was appointed CEO of Joules in 2022 and will remain in his role.

Joules’ websites and online operations, both in the UK and overseas, will be operated by NEXT through NEXT’s Total Platform. Total Platform will also provide warehousing and distribution services for Joules’ retail, franchise, wholesale and concession businesses, all of which will continue to be operated by Joules.

Simon Wolfson, NEXT Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are excited to see what can be achieved through the combination of Joules’ exceptional product, marketing and brand building skills with NEXT’s Total Platform infrastructure.”

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