Whistles owner TFG mulls Joules rescue bid - report
With 1,600 jobs at risk, the stakes are high as we wait for news of a purchase of failed retailer Joules. And the latest name to have been spoken of in relation to a possible deal is the owner of Whistles, Hobbs and Phase Eight.
South Africa-based The Foschini Group (TFG) is reported to have been in talks on investing in Joules for several weeks before the latter called in administrators. In return, it would have received a substantial stake in the business. This follows the failure earlier this year of talks with Next to take a major holding.
And retail industry sources have told Sky News that the UK operation of Foschini – TFG, London – is now "examining whether it could take control of Joules from Interpath Advisory, the insolvency practitioner”.
But while it may be keen to do so, it faces plenty of competition with the 'usual suspects' – Next, M&S and Frasers group – all believed to be likely bidders for the business.
Joules currently has 132 stores across the UK and they remain open for now. But there are fears that new owners would close some or most of these. Apart from TFG, the other three businesses all have large stores of their own that would likely be used to house Joules concessions, as well as giant webstores.
The company’s administrators said they’ve had “overwhelming interest” from possible buyers and are optimistic of a positive outcome. But it's unclear whether such an outcome will mean a continuation of Joules on UK high streets.
None of the parties concerned has commented on any interest in buying the brand.
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