Next saves Joules from administration in £34 million deal

High street retailer Next has agreed a deal to buy Joules for £34 million after the welly boot specialist entered administration last month.

The joint deal with company founder Tom Joule was announced on 1 December, with Next to own 74% of the retailer and the remaining 26% held by Joule. Next has also acquired the Joules Head Office in Market Harborough for £7 million cash.

Next said that around 100 Joules shops will remain open, while 19 will close immediately and a further five will subsequently shutter. This translates to 133 job losses out of 1,600 Joules staff.

Joules CEO Jonathon Brown, who was appointed earlier this year, will remain in situ. Next said that Joules would retain "management autonomy and creative independence".

The company also said that Joules will use Next’s Total Platform for online sales, website, warehousing and distribution for Joules’ retail, franchise, wholesale and concession businesses, all of which will continue to be operated by Joules. It is anticipated Joules will go live on NEXT’s Total Platform in early 2024.

For Next, this deal comes weeks after it acquired homewares brand after it fell into administration. This however was solely a brand acquisition, and led to around 400 layoffs.

Simon Wolfson, Next Chief Executive said: “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.”

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. 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.”

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