Sales shot up at The Hut Group in the first half as EBITDA also grew at the online retail group.

Sales rose 54% to £66.2m in the six months to June 30 while EBITDA rose to £4m from £300,000 in the first half of 2011.

The etailer said it has “successfully integrated” sites Lookfantastic and Myprotein, which it has acquired in the last 18 months.

The Hut said it had made a successful exit from “legacy low margin” categories, including music and books, leading to “enhanced margin performance”.

The group recorded 44.1 million visitors to its sites in the period, up from 32 million in the same period last year. Some 4.7 million units were delivered, up from 3.5 million in 2011.

The Hut said it has invested new technology including improved data analytics software and a new optimised, single page checkout to simplify the payment process.

The etailer has appointed former Exel Logistics executive Martin O’Grady as group operations director.

The Hut chief executive Matthew Moulding said: “The group is positioned as market leader in a number of differentiated and high growth sectors with significant barriers to entry.

“The combination of our market positioning and constant advances in customer insight through data analytics is driving both customer and revenue growth. The group’s gross margin progression is very pleasing and now that we have integrated recent acquisitions and are delivering significant operating leverage, the EBITDA progression is a major highlight.”

Chairman Angus Monro said: “Management has successfully integrated two large acquisitions in the past 18 months while at the same time delivering substantial organic sales and earnings growth. The strong trading performance of the business is testament to the calibre of the management team and the strength of the business model.”