Next buyout of Joules sees the closure of 12 stores but Belfast and Banbridge not on the list

Joules in Arthur Street, one of two of the brand's stores here, is not on its closure list
Emma Deighan

Fashion chain Joules will shut 19 stores and cut 133 jobs after a takeover by Next, but its Belfast and Banbridge sites are not on the list.

The company, which has one store in Belfast and an outlet shop at the Boulevard, Banbridge, has been taken over by high street giant Next which will work alongside Joules founder Tom Joule.

Next said it plans to continue to run around 100 of Joules's 124 stores and transfer over around 1,450 shop and head office workers.

The deal will see Next own a 74% stake in the business, with Tom Joule owning the remaining 26%.

Next and Tom Joule beat competition from South African firm Foschini Group, which owns the Whistles and Phase Eight brands.

Joules has been bought for £34 million, with Next also snapping up Joules's head office in Market Harborough for £7m.

Chief executive officer Jonathon Brown will continue to lead Joules, with Next saying the brand will retain management autonomy.

It also said most Joules staff will remain with the business in the long term and confirmed plans to shift Joules on to its Next Total platform system.

Tom Joule said: "I'm so pleased that we have been able to strike a deal that protects the future of the company for all its loyal customers, its employees and also for the town of Market Harborough, which have been so central to Joules's success."

Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said: "We are excited to see what can be achieved through the combination of Joules's exceptional product, marketing and brand building skills with Next's Total Platform infrastructure."

Joules is Next's second brand purchase in recent months. It also bought online furniture firm after it collapsed.