Half of fast-growing etail group The Hut’s sales are set to come from overseas by the beginnning of 2014 as it continues to mull an IPO.
Group chief executive Matt Moulding said overseas sales, which accounted for 37% of revenue in its first half, will rise to 50% by January next year.
He said: “Forget about the big story being the UK recovery. For us it’s all about international.”
The acquisitive retail group is also aiming to propel this growth by snapping up some international companies. Moulding said the firm previously viewed overseas investments as too risky but it now has the scale to integrate new businesses without it dragging on profitability.
However, he said it would not be “spending big” on international brands just yet.
The retailer, which counts former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and former M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose amongst its shareholders, is also recruiting multi-lingual staff to focus on overseas markets. Moulding said it is also looking to “get people on the ground” in some of its bigger territories.
The fast-growing etail group has long been touted as a potential IPO candidate, and hired advisers in 2011 before shelving plans due to market uncertainties.
The appetite for retail IPO’s has picked up following Bargain Booze owner Conviviality’s successful float in July. Moulding said it has yet to decide whether to push the button on a float but if they did it could be brought to market in just six to eight weeks.
Own brand has also helped drive sales at The Hut, which jumped 30.3% to £77.1m in the six months to June 30. Own brand accounted for 39% of sales during the half but will rise to 50% next year. The Hut said EBITDA growth was “significantly ahead” of revenue growth.
Despite the focus on own label, it has added over 100 brands including Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith to the business helped by its acquisition of designer fashion brand Coggles in June.
Moulding said the wealth of brands it is bringing to the business will help in its aim of transforming eponymous website TheHut.com, which just 18 months ago specialised in entertainment products, into a digital department store that he said would rival Selfridges and Debenhams.