The Hut Group (‘THG’) is a vertically integrated digital-first consumer brands group, retailing its own brands in beauty and nutrition, as well as third-party brands, to an online and global customer base.
THG is powered by THG Ingenuity, its proprietary end-to-end e-commerce technology, infrastructure and brand building platform.
The Group operates through the following four businesses:
- THG Ingenuity: Provides an end-to-end direct-to-consumer e-commerce solution for consumer brand owners under Software as a Service licences, in addition to stand‑alone digital services, including hosting, studio content and translation;
- THG Nutrition: A manufacturer and online D2C retailer of nutrition and wellbeing products and owner of the Myprotein brand, including its family of brands Myvegan, Myvitamins, MP Clothing and Myprotein Pro;
- THG Beauty: A leading digital-first brand owner, retailer and manufacturer in the prestige beauty market, combining its prestige portfolio of seven owned brands across skincare, haircare and cosmetics, the provision of a global route to market for over 850 third‑party beauty brands through its portfolio of websites, including Lookfantastic, Skinstore and Mankind, the beauty subscription box brand Glossybox and the product developer and manufacturer Acheson & Acheson; and
- Other: This business consists of the THG Lifestyle (consumer and luxury products) and THG Experience (Hale Country Club, King Street Townhouse Hotel and the Great John Street Hotel) businesses.
For the year ended 31 December 2019, THG’s revenue was £1,140 million and its Adjusted EBITDA was £111 million.
THG Ingenuity is a proven enablement platform for frictionless, end-to-end digital commerce, with its ability and value demonstrated by the Group’s digital leadership positions in the Beauty and Nutrition categories.
The platform was initially developed by THG to overcome weaknesses and disproportionate costs in third party technology and supporting e-commerce services, and is now licensed to a rapidly growing set of brand owners under long-term SaaS contracts. This has followed 16 years of continuous investment in proprietary technology, operations, digital and data infrastructure to grow THG’s brands into digital category leaders.
THG Ingenuity solves global and local challenges for its partners by delivering a seamless, effective and scalable direct-to-consumer retail model by incorporating all the required components for global digital commerce into a single, digital platform. This enables THG to offer brands access to every product and service required to launch and scale a global e-commerce solution through a single SaaS relationship, which eradicates the complexity and cost of multi-partner relationships.
THG Ingenuity has become the partner of choice for many brands who realise that software, without the real-world infrastructure, is insufficient and leaves them with the burden of managing and orchestrating their own network of logistics, marketing and content providers amongst others. Ingenuity’s rapidly growing list of partners includes Nestle, PZ Cussons, Homebase, Group L’Occitaine, Clorox and Johnson & Johnson, all of whom who are signing long-term SaaS contracts to deliver digital transformation on a global scale.
The platform integrates:
- THG’s advanced e-commerce software technology (including e-commerce platform, warehouse management system, marketing platform, influencer platform, courier platform, checkout, fraud engine, data platform)
- THG’s global real-world infrastructure (including global warehousing across 16 locations, 180+ courier services, product manufacturing across four facilities, 29 data centres) and, finally;
- THG’s digital brand building capabilities (website trading, marketing, customer service and end-to-end content creation, including the upcoming launch of a 300,000 sq. ft, and Europe’s largest, studio and digital content hub)
These collectively enable THG to deliver a fully localised and frictionless e-commerce experience to a global customer base, in addition to powering the growth of THG’s own brands internationally (THG’s international sales have grown at annual rate of +45% since 2015). Uniquely, all partners continue to benefit from the ever-expanding pipeline of technology, operations, digital and data innovation that THG has driven for its own brands, meaning THG’s customers also reap the benefits of THG’s ongoing platform development.
Myprotein is the world’s leading digitally native sports nutrition brand, with 95 per cent. of its revenue in 2019 from online D2C sales. Acquired in 2011, the brand has evolved under THG’s ownership from a UK-focused business with £20 million of revenue, into a global leader with over £380 million of revenue in 2019, of which 80 per cent. was outside the UK, and with leadership positions in a number of international markets.
THG Ingenuity has been a critical enabler of this progression, with Myprotein operating 54 localised websites supported by fully localised content, product catalogues, trading, marketing, influencers, payment options, fulfilment and customer service. In addition, Myprotein is fully vertically integrated through in-house manufacturing (BRC AA grade manufacturing facility), new product development, proprietary technology, brand development, content creation, marketing and fulfilment. This combined technology and operating ecosystem, powered by the THG Ingenuity platform, has proven to be highly effective and has facilitated rapid international growth, with Myprotein holding leading market shares in the UK and Western Europe, while rapidly scaling in Asia.
Myprotein has a family of brands addressing specific customer preferences across the global nutrition market (estimated to amount to over £270 billion globally in 2019), including vegan, vitamins and athleisure. These brands include Myprotein, Myvitamins, Myvegan and MPClothing. As a consequence, Myprotein is optimally positioned for broad-based growth across all categories of the nutrition market, while meaningfully broadening the brand’s global addressable market and customer demographic. The success of Myprotein illustrates THG’s capabilities as a digital brand builder, with a commitment to evolve its brands and proactively capitalise upon developing market trends. THG has a broad platform to capture demand across the nutrition market, with each brand within the family supported by bespoke branding, content, marketing, influencer and new product development strategies.
The Directors believe that through Lookfantastic and its family of related websites, THG is the number one online pure-play specialist beauty retailer based on revenue. Offering over 850 premium brands, including Tom Ford, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, Jo Malone, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Natasha Denona, THG Beauty Retail’s revenue has grown at a CAGR of over 40 per cent. from 2010, when Lookfantastic was acquired, to 2019.
The principal driver of this growth has been the THG Ingenuity platform, which has enabled THG to gain international market share and create international demand for brands that had been previously largely sold in their country of origin. As a consequence, Lookfantastic represents a critical route to market for beauty brands seeking to grow, innovate and connect with global audiences. Approximately 64 per cent. of Lookfantastic sales in 2019 were outside the UK, reflecting the success of the THG Ingenuity platform in internationalising THG’s portfolio of over 850 beauty brands. THG is also building a disruptive portfolio of digitally native beauty brands through acquisition, with seven owned brands currently in the portfolio. THG has a strategy of internationalising and driving online D2C growth of acquired brands, both through brand D2C websites (e.g. Espaskincare.com) and THG retail websites (e.g. Lookfantastic.com). As a consequence, the majority of the Group’s sales are online, and non-UK.
THG Beauty has a vertically integrated operating model, with in-house new product development and manufacturing delivered through the capabilities in the THG Ingenuity business, primarily through Acheson & Acheson, a BRC A grade and FDA approved UK-based business, which THG acquired in 2018. THG uses Acheson & Acheson’s best-in-class product development and innovation teams to oversee the future product development and brand positioning of all THG’s own beauty brands, combining this with data insights from THG’s data platform to deliver highly targeted new product development across the brand portfolio. THG has also seen the benefit of margin enhancement through moving manufacturing in-house. Additionally, the acquisition of Acheson & Acheson has deepened THG’s relationships with third-party beauty brands, through being able to offer product development, product compliance, manufacturing, technology, retailing and fulfilment as part of a single operating model. THG expects to continue to invest in beauty product development and manufacturing.
THG also owns Glossybox, an international beauty subscription box business. Together, the Glossybox and Lookfantastic beauty box businesses had over 445,000 monthly subscribers as of July 2020. This active and engaged subscriber base provides THG with data insights that can be leveraged by THG and its brand partners for future brand development. In addition, it positions THG as a source of digital beauty education and product discovery for consumers, and also acts as a highly effective customer acquisition channel for THG Beauty retail websites, converting high-spending sampling customers (those who pay for premium subscription boxes) into Lookfantastic customers. For brand owners, Glossybox represents an increasingly important engagement channel, enabling their products to reach beauty consumers who are switching away from traditional forms of retail and media.