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Joules hopes insolvency deal with creditors and landlords will stave off collapse

Joules, which has 130 stores, said an insolvency deal with creditors and landlords could be a way to head off a collapse that has led to its shares falling sharply

Joules, which has 130 stores, said an insolvency deal with creditors and landlords could be a way to head off a collapse that has led to its shares falling sharply

A multimillionaire car dealer who has just become the second largest shareholder in Joules says he has not ruled out taking part in a rescue of the beleaguered fashion retailer.

Richard Teatum, a former car mechanic who runs Stoneacre Motor Group, said he hoped to meet Tom Joule, the founder of Joules and its biggest shareholder, “pretty soon”.

It was disclosed in a regulatory filing late on Thursday that Teatum had built an 8.9 per cent stake in the retailer, known for its colourful clothes and pink Wellington boots.

He said yesterday: “I might buy some more [shares], I might sell some. I don’t mean to be vague: it’s just I’m keeping my options open.”

Teatum has spent about £1 million on the investment.

“I think the shares are very good value, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them,” he said. “I think the company can be turned around; not easily, but it can be.”

Teatum said there was no date in the diary for meeting Joule “as I’ve got a busy schedule. But I’ve been in touch.”

Teatum, 65, whose Doncaster-based group was founded in 1994 and has about 100 dealerships, said he liked to “dip” into the stock market, but this was his first investment in a clothing retailer.

Joules said yesterday that an insolvency deal with creditors and landlords could be a way to head off a collapse. The 130-store retailer said that it was considering a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) as a possible route out of its crisis. This would pave the way for shop closures and job cuts among the 1,000-plus staff.

The statement said Joules was still looking at raising equity from investors but added: “The company also continues to consider a range of other potential options which may be available to it, where a CVA is one of a number of such alternatives.”

Joules declined to comment on Teatum’s stake-building.

Tom Joule, who owns 21.7 per cent of the company, floated the business on the junior Aim market in 2016 at 195p a share. The shares traded as high as 300p in summer last year but have collapsed in the wake of weak trading. Joules blamed the summer heatwave for a sharp fall in sales of wellies and wet-weather gear. The shares closed unchanged at 9p.

Joules had been in advanced talks with Next about a £15 million equity investment, but they fell through last month.

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Joules hopes insolvency deal with creditors and landlords will stave off collapse