I asked the question back in December 'is Joules (JOUL) a retail jewel?' – and, based on the last six months, and despite everything going on in the general retail space and on the High Street, the answer has to be 'yes'...
The latest trading update (which covers the 52 week period to 26th May) from the 'authentic heritage and strong brand...with a sense of fun and quirky Britishness' (whatever that means) reads really well, with 'full Year PBT anticipated to be at the upper end of analysts' expectations'. It can happen for a retail business! As I noted back in December, part of the reason for the success of the business is that it is omnichannel and growing both online (half the group's revenue) and internationally. On the latter, the company noted the 'continued strong growth of our international business, which now represents approximately 16% of Group revenue (FY18: 13%)', with the US and Germany the key drivers. I blame the Royal Family...or Brexit! There are other angles though which hint at the required realities for any retailer, even one that appears to be successfully tapping into something consumers like the sound of.
Joules noted the importance of 'disciplined cost management' and no doubt this played an important role. It certainly helps additionally to have a strong balance sheet and, being a newer retail brand, not a long legacy of failing / expensive physical stores. The full set of numbers are out on the 23rd July and comments around this, cash flow generation and future growth hopes - even on the High Street - will all be watched carefully. However, a top end of analyst profit hopes statement is a good start. The shares have rightly pushed above 260p in response. Hello again the 300p+ trading zone in due course?
Naturally - as you would expect from me - do not expect me to be buying anything from its stores directly...but I think I can do sufficient 'quirky Britishness' to be able to continue periodically lingering in a few of its shops local to me to keep doing some primary research.
Filed under: Joules, Diversified Gas & Oil, Watchstone, Columbus Energy, Gooch & Housego
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