Lifestyle retailer Joules is understood to be in discussions with Louise Barnes about the former Fat Face chief executive joining its board as chairman.

The potential appointment is believed to be part of a wider move to strengthen the executive team at Joules following recent growth at the company.

Barnes left lifestyle rival Fat Face in April after seven years at the company. She was replaced by former George at Asda managing director Anthony Thompson, who quickly strengthened the Fat Face team with a new retail director, brand director and communications director.

Joules is planning to expand this year, with nine stores slated to open and a sales target of £70m in the year to May 2011. The growth follows strong full-year results, which saw total sales rise to £51.1m in the year to May 1, 2010, up from £35m the year before, and operating profits shoot up from £2m to £5.2m.

Joules declined to comment on whether the company was in talks with Barnes but confirmed no announcement had been made.