High street giant Next has partnered with Tom Joule to pay £34 million to rescue Joules from bankruptcy.

Joules went into administration earlier this month and Mr. Joule, its founder, will now take a leading role to re-establish the company after its collapse.

Just over two weeks ago, Joules was compelled to hire administrators from Interpath Advisory after failing to secure support in the wake of months of low sales.

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According to the administrators, Mr. Joule, who founded Joules in Market Harborough in 1989, has partnered with Next to purchase the company and its assets.

The move means around 100 stores will remain open as a result of the £34 million takeover.

It is thought 1,500 jobs have been saved by Next’s intervention.

About 100 stores will remain open as a result of the £34 million agreement, and nearly 1,500 jobs will be preserved.

Mr. Joule keeps the remaining 26 percent of his company, with Next holding 74 percent of the shares.

Joules’ £20 million Harborough headquarters, which opened in 2021, was also purchased by Next, a Leicestershire-based company, for £7 million in cash.

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However, despite the takeover, 19 Joules stores have closed, resulting in the loss of 133 jobs.

Mr. 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.

“Our customers have always trusted us to lead, not follow, with products that reflect their lifestyle. It’s important that we live up to the high standards they desire in design, quality and, with Next’s Total Platform delivery and customer support proposition, the service they expect.

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“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 has been so central to Joules’ success.”

Next chief executive Simon Wolfson added: “We are excited to see what can be achieved through the combination of Joules’ exceptional product, marketing and brand building skills with Next’s Total Platform infrastructure.”

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Jonathon Brown, the chief executive of Joules, will remain in his position.

Even though modifications were made while Tom Joule was the product director, talks with Next to acquiring an interest in Joules fell through over the summer before the administration.

Next said: “The company will benefit from Tom’s understanding of the Joules brand, customer and product direction that served Joules so well historically.”

In a statement, the administrators said: “The new company has acquired around 100 Joules stores, with approximately 1,450 employees across these stores and head office transferring as part of the transaction.

“Unfortunately, 19 stores are not part of the transaction and will be closed with immediate effect. It is therefore with regret that the joint administrators have today made 133 redundancies.

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“The joint administrators will be providing support to those impacted as a matter of priority.”

Head of restructuring at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator Will Wright said: “Following a highly competitive process, we are pleased to have concluded this transaction which secures the future of this great British brand, as well as safeguarding a significant number of jobs.

“To have achieved this in such a short timetable is a testament to the support we’ve received from employees, suppliers and other key stakeholders throughout the administration process, so we’d like to express our profound thanks to everyone involved.”

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Through its Total Platform system, Next will run the Joules websites and online operations in the UK and abroad. Next will also provide warehouse and distribution services for Joules’ retail, franchise, wholesale, and concession businesses, all of which will be run by Joules going forward.

Source: Business Live

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