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Booming online sales helped Joules post a profit despite store closures.

Sales at the fashion chain fell by 15.3 per cent to £94.5million in the six months to the end of November.

But a strong performance online, with sales rising by a better-than-expected 45 per cent, helped it to salvage a profit of £1.3million, down from £1.7million in the same period last year.

Sales at fashion chain Joules fell by 15.3 per cent to £94.5m in the six months to the end of November

Web sales at the chain, which was founded in 1989 as a country stand in Leicestershire, now represent more than 70 per cent of the company’s revenue, up from 51 per cent last year.

It has added 160,000 customers, taking the total number of active consumers to 1.6m.

Compared to its rivals Joules’s store estate leans more towards regional market towns, rather than big cities, which have been hit hard in the pandemic.

Despite this sales in its 128 stores still fell 46 per cent as lockdowns and weak footfall took their toll.

It has been forced to make 20 head office redundancies as part of a restructuring and elected not to pay a dividend.

Chief executive Nick Jones said he was ‘pleased’ with the first-half performance.