Joules has unveiled a near 20% sales jump in its first half as the retailer continues to expand across all its markets.

In a pre-close update, the fashion and lifestyle retailer said sales jumped 18.2% – 17.5% in constant currency – to £96.2m in the 26 weeks to November 26.

The retailer, which floated in May 2016, said this reflected the brand’s international expansion, its growing customer base, and the “strong performance of both new and core collections”.

Retail sales jumped 16.2% to £65.9m, driven by good growth across both stores and online. Joules opened 10 new stores during the period.

The retailer expects gross margin to be in line with the first half of the prior year, “reflecting continued discipline in promotional activity”.

Joules chief executive Colin Porter said the group’s performance reflects the “growing appeal of the Joules brand among both new and existing customers” across its target markets.

“We look forward with confidence to the second half of the financial year, underpinned by the strength of the Joules brand and our collections.

“Whilst trading conditions will remain challenging, we have seen good growth in our wholesale order book for Spring/Summer 18 and are well positioned for the Christmas trading period,” he said. 

Joules will update on Christmas trading on January 9 and will report interim results on January 31.