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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire branch of Joules shuts despite £34m rescue deal

The Cheltenham branch of Joules has closed its doors with immediate effect and made staff redundant as part of a £34million rescue deal with Next.

The high street chain fell into administration last month but has been rescued after Next teamed up with the brand's founder Tom Joule.

The buyout includes the purchase of 100 Joules stores, saving around 1,450 jobs.

However, 19 stores were closed yesterday (Dec 1) with immediate effect and the loss of 133 jobs. The store in The Promenade is on the list of those shut but the branches in Gloucester and Cirencester appear to have been saved.

Tom Joule, who founded the company in 1989 selling wellies at farm shows, will stay on to try and reinvigorate the brand which became famous for its brightly striped and patterned products.

Like other companies, the Leicestershire-based firm has struggled to stay afloat among the waves created by the coronavirus pandemic and cost-of-living pressures.

It collapsed into administration last month, calling in Interpath Advisory, after failing to secure emergency investment.

Under the terms of the deal, Next will take a 74 per cent stake in the business, with Tom Joule owning the rest. Next has also paid £7m to buy the current Joules head office.

Next will continue to operate Joules' website but will also sell Joules-branded clothing through its own e-commerce platform from 2024.

Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, 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."

Mr Joule stepped back from designing Joules' products in 2019, but recently returned to be the company's product director.

Next said that after completion of the rescue deal, Mr Joule would "take the lead in re-establishing the clear identity of both brand and product".

Mr Joule said the deal would protect the future of the company and added: "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."

Jonathon Brown, the ex-John Lewis director who was hired as CEO earlier this year, will remain in post.

Here is the full list of Joules shops that have closed:

Carmarthen

Cheltenham

Chichester

Edinburgh

Exeter

Gateshead

Lyme Regis

Newbury

Northcote Road

Oxford

Peak Village

Peterborough

Reigate

Salcombe Fore Street

Sherborne

Southwold Little Joule

St Davids

Waterloo

Watford

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