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Nov 30, 2022
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Joules rescue deal imminent, TFG said to be new owner

Published
Nov 30, 2022

Retailer TFG is believed to be on the verge of buying the failed Joules business and unlike some that might have taken it on, the majority of its stores are likely to be part of the deal.


Joules



TFG — or The Foschini Group — is the South Africa-based group that already owns a clutch of UK fashion retailers: Whistles, Hobbs and Phase Eight. So it has a history of taking on mid-sized, mid-market names, and continuing to operate them both through physical stores and online.

Sky News reported that the company, which had earlier been suggested, as being in pole position to buy Joules, was in advanced talks on the takeover and news could come at any moment.

The news channel said that TFG would also buy "the majority" of the retailer's stores and assets, although around a quarter of the 132 shops would be likely to close.

That would mean the loss of several hundred jobs, although that's a far better outcome than the more-than-1,500 jobs that were on the line, if more shops were to close.

Interpath Advisory, the administrator, hasn't commented so far, and there’s still a possibility that another buyer could come in with a last-ditch offer. 

Other acquisition-hungry businesses believed to have been interested include Frasers Group and Next, the latter having pulled back from taking a strategic stake in Joules earlier this year, when a falling share price meant the value of the business plummeted.

The administrator had earlier said that the business had attracted plenty of interest from possible buyers, and it was optimistic it could secure a future for the brand, which continues to operate even though it's in administration.

Joules was found by Tom Joule in 1989 and grew steadily. It had been a stock exchange-listed business since 2016 but the combination of external factors (such as the pandemic and supply chain issues) and some internal missteps saw its share price going into freefall. It ran out of cash, resulting in its eventual administration filing in recent weeks.

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