Lifestyle retailer Joules is targeting major city centre locations for store openings for the first time, after reporting net profit soared 200% to £3.6m in the year to May 1.

Joules reported total sales of £51.1m, up from £35m the previous year. Founder and managing director Tom Joule said he is targeting sales of £70m in the present financial year.

Joules is planning to open its first London store in October in Covent Garden. This will be followed by shops in Leeds, York and Edinburgh.

The retailer, which traditionally has stores in market and seaside towns, is also seeking larger stores. At present it trades in 1,000 sq ft stores and is seeking shops between 1,000 sq ft and 3,500 sq ft.

Joule said: “We now have a broader, phased range, which works well for bigger stores.”

The retailer has 35 company-owned stores, eight concessions and seven franchise stores in the UK. It will open nine shops this year, and will also seek to up its portfolio in France and Scandinavia via its franchise partners. Joule said UK and international expansion are key areas of growth for the year.

He attributed the success of the retailer so far to the fact it is a multi­channel player. It started out as an online and catalogue retailer, plus selling at equestrian shows, and its revenue is now made up of 50% retail and 50% wholesale.

“40% of our retail sales are web sales, and even though we are opening more stores I don’t ever see that falling below 15%, as this is where the business started,” he said.

This year it also created a ‘catazine’, a cross between a catalogue and magazine, with features and interviews, which is sent out every two months.

Joules will also embark on its first licensing deal with Boots this year, selling a small range of homewares and toiletries in Boots for Christmas.