UK’s next $42m bailout deal for Joules


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LONDON, December 1 (Reuters)Britishitalian retailer Next NXT.L has bought the Wellingtons to Jumpers Joules chain of stores in a bailout deal with its founder, paying £34m ($42m) in cash to buy the majority of its assets out of administration.

The deal will keep around 100 Joules stores open while around 24 will be closed, 19 immediately, Next said in a statement on Thursday, meaning 133 job losses among the 1,600 employees who work for Joules.

Last month, Next, one of Britain’s biggest clothing retailers, stepped in to buy another high-profile victim of Britain’s consumer downturn, acquisition of Made.combut in this case, he only bought the brand, which resulted in around 400 layoffs.

Some retailers in Britain are struggling as shoppers rein in spending due to soaring household bills, with Joules and the biggest names to go into administration.

As part of Next’s arrangement with Tom Joule, which launched the country-inspired brand famous for its stripes and floral prints in 1989, Next will own 74% of the new company, with Joule owning the balance.

Joules will use Next’s technology, namely its Total Platform, for its online sales, website, warehousing and distribution needs.

Next said its plan to keep 100 stores open was subject to terms agreed with the owners. He also said he had paid £7million for Joules’ head office and that the channel would retain “managerial autonomy and creative independence”.

($1 = 0.8189 pounds)

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru and Sarah Young in London; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and James Davey)


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