There are signs of improvement for fashion brand Joules (LON: JOUL) and the recent fundraising has strengthened the balance sheet. Online sales have prospered.

Even so, Joules lost up to £3m in the year to May 2020. Stock has been kept under control. A few months ago, the worry was obtaining stock from China, but that changed to concerns about the ability to sell stock.

Last year’s revenues were better than expected because of the online growth. These are likely to have been particularly strong in April and May. It is existing customers that have been spending more online with less being spent on attracting new customers in the fourth quarter. Active customers have risen by 3% to 1.4 million.

Wholesale revenues fell by one-quarter. Cash payments have been received and there should be a recovery as retail outlets start to open again.

Placing

Net cash was £4m following a placing that raised £15m at 80p a share. Deferral of tax payments has helped.

The backing of the directors for the fundraising in April has paid off for them. The share price has recovered to 117p, although the price has still more than halved compared with 12 months ago. The share price fell below 40p at one point during March.

The directors subscribed for nearly 1.47 million shares, with Tom Joule buying 1.25 million himself. That means that he has gained more than £460,000 on that investment.

The cash raising enabled Joules to access a £15m facility provided by Barclays.

Profit could bounce back to £5m this year, but the current valuation assumes a much bigger improvement over the medium-term. At least investors can be sure that Joules will still be around.