Online retailer The Hut Group will hit the acquisition trail again this year in order to maintain strong growth.
Last week the acquisitive etailer snapped up the rights to online beauty product retailer HQ Hair, which collapsed into administration last week. It is also eyeing acquisitions to bolster its sportswear and gifting sectors.
The Hut Group is aiming to rapidly expand its health and beauty category. HQ Hair is the third health and beauty retailer it has bought in as many months, following its acquisition of LookFantastic for £19.4m and men’s grooming product site Mankind Direct in November, for £2.5m.
Group commercial director Richard Chapple said The Hut will “aggressively market” the health and beauty category this year as it aims to double the turnover of its new acquisitions.
Chapple said: “Health and beauty is a massive focus for growth. If trading is in line with last year the new sites would deliver £25m to £40m. Our target is to double that.”
Mergers and acquisitions director Steven Whitehead said the retailer will take “a bigger jump” into the sportswear market this year and is looking at making “a large acquisition” in the category. It already operates Intersport’s website.
Whitehead said it is also looking for a new site to complement gifting site Iwantoneofthose.com, which it acquired last August. The Hut is still mulling a stock market floatation, although Whitehead said “no advisers had been appointed or beauty parades carried out”.
Sales rocketed 70% to £87m across the group in 2010. Sales within its core entertainment category - which account for 60% of turnover - grew 45%, which includes Zavvi.co.uk. The Hut bought the rights to the brand after the retailer collapsed in 2008.
The Hut runs websites for retailers including Argos Entertainment, WHSmith Entertainment and Tesco.
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