Express & Star

Joules to shut 19 stores but Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Cannock will stay open

Troubled fashion brand Joules is to shut 19 stores and cut 133 jobs after it was bought by retail rival Next and founder Tom Joule.

The nearest closure to West Midlands will be in Cheltenham.

Next said it plans to continue to run around 100 of Joules’ 124 stores and will transfer over around 1,450 members of shop and head office staff.

The stores in Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Birmingham and the store at the Outlet Village in Cannock are among those that will remain open.

The deal will see Next own a 74% stake in the business, with Tom Joule owning the remaining 26% share.

The company drafted in administrators from Interpath Advisory last month after failing to secure emergency funding following a surge in costs and slowdown in customers demand.

Tom Joule said: “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.

“I’m so pleased that we have been able to strike a deal that protects the future of the company for all its loyal customers, its employees and also for the town of Market Harborough, which have been so central to Joules’ success.”

It comes weeks after Next bought the brand, websites and intellectual property for online furniture business after it also collapsed.

The administration resulted in 320 redundancies, while a further 79 employees who had resigned and were working their notice were forced to immediately leave.