How The Hut Group Became the Latest British E-Commerce Star

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The British E-Commerce-Market is famous for the likes of Asos, Net-a-Porter (now part of the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group) or Ocado (all publicly traded).

Lesser known is The Hut Group, a fast growing e-commerce company selling a variety of products with a focus on lifestyle, health & beauty products and fashion via multiple online shops:

The Hut Group was founded on a desire to create an e-commerce system that could support multiple retailers. Today, our proprietary platform is used to manage over 100 websites, which we build, trade and market in-house.

The Hut Group has moved away from selling entertainment electronics to become a beauty & lifestyle company. Founder Matthew Moulding talked with Manchester Evening News about the evolution of the company:

With revenues reaching nearly £500m and staff numbers growing to 3,000, The Hut Group’s success can only be described as phenomenal.

As Europe’s fastest growing online health and beauty retailer, its sales continue to grow rapidly both here in the UK and globally too. […]

He says: “We were doing phenomenally with the entertainment business but when music became available digitally thanks to the iPhone and the likes, it started putting pressure on the margins.

“Fundamentally, we had built a good technology business but in the long-term the equity would have been challenged.

“To create a valuable business, staying in entertainment wasn’t the right thing to do as we knew we couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple, and as a result I started to look at what else would work online.

“We had the infrastructure – we just needed the right products.”

To find fitting product categories, Moulding had some basic rules:

“What we discovered was that we didn’t like big items because there had to be a two-man delivery and we couldn’t scale it globally,” said the father-of-four.

“We didn’t like fresh products because if they were delicate then there was the risk of breakage during transit and they had a short life span and we didn’t want things with high returns either.”

For 2016, The Hut Group will have revenues of £490 million in 2016. (+47%)

Over half of the company’s revenues come from overseas markets.

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