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George St launch event

Joules scales up with biggest store in UK

Lauren Morrison, assistant manager and Annabel Higgins, manager (Photo by Terry Murden)

Lauren Morrison, assistant manager, and Annabel Higgins, manager (Photo by Terry Murden)

Joules, the casual and childrenswear store, held a launch party for its new outlet in Edinburgh which is three times the size of its previous shop.

The George St unit is the biggest in Britain with a substantial investment in new displays and and expanded product range.

Everything that is online can be bought in store and 16 additional staff have been recruited. The store is 6,000 sq ft, of which half is retail space.

Lauren Morrison, assistant manager, said: “We are excited to have the space to show all our products.”

Owner Tom Joule, who floated the business on the Alternative Investment Market this year, paid a brief visit on Monday but did not stay on for the party.

The company has confirmed plans to open in Perth, but contrary to speculation it is not looking at the closed McEwens department store.

Its new George St store is recruiting 16 staff in addition to the eight making the move from the outlet down the same road.

The business raised £77.5 million from its £150m initial public offering in May, the bulk of which went to previous shareholders including its founder who held an 80% stake.

Three years ago he launched a collaboration with the Edinburgh-based Cheeky Chompers baby products company after seeing its founders turned down for funds on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Joules made £5m profit on £116.4m in sales during the year to the end of March.

The Edinburgh store is the latest among a spate of retail openings in the city by incoming and domestic investors.

The US cosmetics chain Bobbi Brown has just opened its first store in Scotland in the same street. Arran Aromatics is also opening a larger store in George St.

Increased interest and the subsequent squeeze on available space has lifted rents in the central core from £200 per sq ft to £250-260 per sq ft.

The new Ann Summers store in Princes St commanded £230 per sq ft.

As revealed by Daily Business last month there are plans to split the former BHS store into two shops facing Princes Street with two restaurants and a hotel facing Rose Street and on the upper floors.

A £50m scheme will involve demolishing the present store and replacing it with a higher building to accommodate the restaurant. There is already said to be a high level of interest.

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