Comment: Why brand’s downfall is especially sad for our industry. 

Joules went into administration last Wednesday (16 November), putting 1,600 jobs and 130-odd stores in jeopardy.

Administrators from Interpath Advisory are keeping the business trading, its physical and online stores staying open, clearly aiming to find a buyer as a going concern, writes ETN editor Liz Benwell. 

“The Board currently expects that, in due course, the listing of the Company's ordinary shares will be cancelled, any residual value will be distributed to the Company's shareholders and the Company will be wound up,” read a bleak statement from Joules Group.

The hope had been that the label’s founder Tom Joule, and other investors, would ride in like the knight on a white charger with a cash injection and fantastic product ideas to save the day. The fairytale didn’t come true. 

We particularly notice the Joules scenario in the equestrian trade because many of us remember Tom as a likeable figure around the shows, horse trials and at BETA International. 

No-one can blame him for selling out – the company went public in 2016 – but as one who lived and breathed his brand, Tom must be sad. 

Did Joules try to be all things to all people, instead of sticking with the equestrian theme it did so well? Or was it simply overtaken by events surrounding Covid, economic turmoil and a mild 2022 autumn?

What a shame. Horsey folk are still washing and wearing their Joules tops, but even those top-quality early editions are fading with time.