Retailer Joules valued at £140m ahead of stock market listing

Family at a picnic Image copyright Joules

UK clothing and homeware brand Joules has been valued at around £140m ahead of listing its shares on London's junior stock exchange market Aim.

The firm, which started out selling clothes at country shows in 1989, said it hoped to raise £77.5m in the float.

It currently has 98 shops and plans to use the proceeds to expand, targeting 10 to 12 new store openings a year.

Founder Tom Joule, who will reduce his stake from 80% to 32% in the listing, is expected to make around £60m.

Mr Joule said he'd started the firm with "one man one tent and a lot of enthusiasm", finding a niche in the market when he realised there was a demand for colourful clothing amid the standard tweeds worn to such events.

The Market Harborough-based business has since expanded to sell clothing for children as well as women and men and into homeware.

Image copyright Joules

'Exciting new phase'

Joules's revenue rose 50% to £116.4m in the two years to May 2015 with particularly strong sales in North America and Germany, while the number of customers doubled to around two million in the same period.

Joules chief executive officer Colin Porter said the share listing marked "an exciting new phase in Joules' development".

The company's shares are expected to list on Aim on Thursday.

It is the first of the retailers it competes with, such as Boden, Fat Face and White Stuff, to list on the stock market and Honor Westnedge, analyst at retail research group Verdict, said this could give it an advantage.

"It's still a very niche brand, but this [the listing] could give it the potential to reach different customers," she said.

Ms Westnedge said so far, the brand had chosen new locations "really well", opting for places which fitted in with its premium branding and the type of customers it targeted, but she warned as a result there was "a ceiling" for the number of new locations it could open.

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