The Hut Group swoops for high-end rival

ONLINE retailer The Hut Group has acquired high-end US and Australian competitor Salu Beauty in advance of its expected flotation in 2017.

Salu Beauty will join Cheshire-based The Hut Group’s multiple specialist trading platforms, including Zayyi, MyProtein, Coggles and, according to The Times.

Salu trades under and from Walgreens Boots Alliance.

The deal will build on The Hut’s lofty position in the beauty sector. The group currently has more than 800 brands across 29 websites in 166 countries in Europe, the US and Australia. The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

The Hut’s shareholders include Sir Terry Leahy, former chief executive of Tesco, and Lord Rose of Monewden, former head of Marks & Spencer.

Its co-founder is 44-year-old Matthew Moulding the largest shareholder and chief executive.

The group is chaired by Co-op chief executive Richard Pennycock, recently revealed pre-tax profits had more than doubled to £15.2m in the year to the end of December.
Its revenue was £334m, up 34% on the previous year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 33% to £30m and the group completed the year with a cash position of £141.5m.

The Hut Group – 19% owned by KKR which bought into the company for £100m two years ago after valuing it at £500m – employs more than 1,800 people and counts Balderton Capital, the Lewis family, owners of the River Island fashion chain, and Angus Monro, the former Matalan chief executive, who is also a director, among its other investors.