Spotlight: Retailers defying the high street doom and gloom


British clothing retailer Joules has continued to defy the high street gloom over the past two years, and so far has not buckled under the pressures of ‘brexit uncertainty’ and the shift in consumer tastes and trends.

Originally established as Joule & Sons in 1977 by Ian Joule, the company which sells clothing and homeware products inspired by British country lifestyles, sticks to its roots and instead of chasing high footfall areas all of its 123 stores around the UK are all located near market towns and coastal holiday destinations such as St. Ives, Southwold, Burnham Market and Salcombe with flagship stores in Cheltenham, Norwich and York.

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In its latest set of results the retailer reported underlying pre-tax profits of £15.5m, an increase of 19.4% compared with the previous year. Group revenue also rose 17.2% to £218m driven by a 23% increase in UK retail sales at £159.1m.

Watches of Switzerland

Following its recent IPO which saw its stock price increase by 17% within a matter of hours, Watches of Switzerland has had a positive few months in the face of the current retail market.

Since the flotation, which values the company at around £650m, the luxury watch retailer has reported a 181% rise in profits before tax to £20.1m. The group also revealed its revenues surged by 22.5% to £773.5m during the period, and like-for-like sales in the UK jumped by 10%. It’s luxury watch revenue increased by 28.3% to £631.4m, and luxury jewellery like-for-like sales were up 3%.

The success of the recent stock flotation also saw staff at stores across the UK and US awarded with a £1,000 bonus as a thank you.



It has been a strong year for the discount retailer B&M, in the face of a wave of CVAs and administrations hitting the high street the company opened 44 net new B&M UK stores and has plans for “at least” a further 50 gross new stores for the financial year, benefiting from what it called “plentiful availability of attractive new store opportunities”.

In its latest set of results for the first quarter of the year announced last month it posted revenue growth of 13.8% in Q1 to £738.9m. Group revenue, which includes its brands Heron Foods, Jawoll and Babou also increased by 21.4% to £967.7m.

Simon Arora, CEO of B&M, at the time said the company had its third consecutive record Easter trading period with sales of seasonal products and homewares performing “particularly well”.

He said: “The transitional changes to the product offers in Jawoll and Babou are now taking shape, as we apply the B&M model to those businesses. We look forward to the remainder of the year with confidence.”


Last week online clothing retailer Zalando announced it had just experienced its “strongest ever” Q2 performance.

The European e-commerce company based in Berlin, Germany follows a platform approach, offering fashion and lifestyle products to customers in 17 European markets. Zalando operates a “customer-centric platform approach” claiming to become “the starting point for fashion” in Europe. It currently offers more than 300,000 products by almost 2,000 different brands including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Ted Baker.

Adapting well to the new retail landscape, the company revealed its number of active customers “grew significantly” by 3.7 million year-over-year to 28.3 million across its markets. In the same period, site visits also jumped 34.3% to 986.4 million, 84% of which came through mobile devices, resulting in a “record number of orders” of 36.1m.

As a result, during the quarter it recorded a 20.1% increase in group revenues to £1.45bn. It also saw a 6.4% increase in adjusted profits to £92.68m and a 23.7% growth in Gross Merchandise Volume £1.8bn.

Zalando also announced it now expects its profitability outlook for the year to reach the upper half of the adjusted EBIT range of £159m – £205m.

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