Joules founder says today is 'a sad day' as Leicestershire company heads into administration

ITV News Central Correspondent, Rajiv Popat reports from the original Joules clothing shop in Market Harborough.

The founder of Joules clothing brand says today is a "sad" and "deeply disappointing day" as the company announces it is to appoint administrators.

The Leicestershire-based chain, which employs around 1,600 staff and has over 130 shops, was founded by Tom Joule, when he began selling clothing on a stand at a country show in Leicestershire.

The brand – famous for its posh wellies – said talks over an emergency cash-call with investors including Mr Joule were unsuccessful and have ended.

In a statement, Tom Joule said: “Today is a deeply disappointing day for Joules, and a sad day for me personally.

"Since the brand’s early days of selling at country shows across the UK, we have always enjoyed a special relationship with our customers, and that hasn’t changed, as is demonstrated by our healthy brand indicators."

For now, it's expected that Joules stores and websites will continue to trade as normal.

Mr Joule said in a statement that the up-market fashion retailer has faced difficulties as their business has become "too complex" and their model is not "aligned to succeed in the current, tough trading environment."

Mr Joule said he has been working to improve operations however the brand could not make the required changes to the model "quickly enough in this challenging environment".

"For our stakeholders, including our customers and our people, we recognise today’s news will be deeply unsettling, and we are sorry for this."

Joules poised to collapse into administration putting 1,600 jobs at risk Credit: PA

Originally established as Joule & Sons in 1977 by Ian Joule, his son Tom took over the business in 1989.

Joule & Son originally sold branded clothing and accessories at equestrian and country shows but Tom and the team saw a gap in the market for selling colourful country clothing as an alternative to traditional styles.

Tom initially ordered 100 pairs of pink wellington boots to be manufactured, which sold out almost immediately.

In 1994, Joule & Son rebranded as Joules and in 2000 Joules opened their first store next door to the café owned by his father in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

In 2001 the company started selling their clothing directly to retailers after all country shows were close as a result of the UK outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

The retail brand then started their catalogue and website in the early 2000s, followed by the launch of Little Joule in 2008, designed for 2–12 year olds and Baby Joule in 2009.