Clothing brand Joules stocks up in case of no-deal Brexit

The British clothing brand Joules is stocking up early on next year’s spring and summer ranges and has rented an EU warehouse in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

The company said it was bringing forward its product orders for its spring and summer 2019 ranges, including its classic striped Breton Harbour tops, hand-drawn printed scarves and light coats and jackets. This is to ensure its deliveries will not be held up by delays at the ports if the UK crashes out of the EU without an agreement in March.

In a statement, Joules, which sells clothes for women, men and children and also stocks homewares, said: “Contingency plans have been put in place to mitigate the expected disruption that could arise in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’.”

The company has also rented a warehouse in mainland Europe. It is preparing for an increase in paperwork in case customs checks and tariffs are introduced after Brexit, and is hedging against the US dollar more than 12 months ahead, as it buys and sells in dollars.

Other companies, from carmakers to food and drink manufacturers and drugmakers, have been preparing for a hard Brexit by stockpiling products, renting extra warehouse space and looking for alternative routes for bringing ingredients and components into the UK.

Joules made the comments in a trading update for the first half. Bucking the broadly gloomy trend on UK high streets, the retailer said profits would come in ahead of expectations.

Revenues, including wholesale and retail, rose 14% to £113.1m for the 26 weeks to 25 November. The firm sells to John Lewis and Next, and online in the US and Germany.

The company said: “The board anticipates that trading conditions in the UK will remain challenging over the near term, with continued macroeconomic uncertainty, rapidly changing consumer shopping behaviours and a highly competitive environment.”

Joules was founded by Tom Joule in 1989, selling branded clothing and accessories at outdoor events. After spotting that the country set wanted more colourful clothes than dowdy tweeds, he introduced his own line of pink wellington boots, which sold out immediately.

The Leicestershire-based retailer floated on the stock market in 2016 and has 123 shops in the UK and Ireland, excluding concessions.