Hut Group takes £332m charge for staff shares

The Hut Group CEO Matthew Moulding

Manchester-based online beauty and nutrition retailer The Hut Group (THG) said on Thursday its revenue jumped 42% to £1.6 billion in the year to December 31, 2020.

But THG reported a £482 million operating loss dominated by a £332 million charge for share-based payments to staff connected to the vesting of share options.

Reported loss before tax was £535 million.

The Hut Group said the £482 million operating loss was driven by “one-off, non-cash items, principally equity awarded to our people.”

The Manchester company explained: “Due to the unique circumstances occurring in connection to the IPO and the Covid-19 pandemic, the result includes one-off charges including significant non-cash expenses, resulting in an operating loss of £(482)m (91% non-cash).

“The biggest non-cash element was a £332m charge associated with equity awarded to staff in the years running up to the IPO, which vested in Q4 2020.”

THG also published a trading update for the three months ending March 31, 2021, saying sales momentum has continued into 2021 across all divisions and that “revenue growth for the first-quarter of +58.2% is broad based, with stable margins in line with guidance.”

The Hut Group, which employs more than 7,000 people, runs websites including lookfantastic.com, myprotein.com, espaskincare.com and coggles.com that sell beauty and nutrition products.

The Hut Group CEO Matthew Moulding said: “Management’s purpose for the IPO was to step change THG’s access to funding in order to capitalise on Covid-19 accelerated market changes.

“As we progressed through 2020, those changes became more apparent in terms of the volume and scale of opportunities available to the group, as evidenced by the c. £400m committed to acquisitions since IPO, most notably the acquisition of Dermstore in the US …

“We have delivered exceptionally well on our commitments at IPO and we move forward with purpose, to advance our strategy with investment in talent, infrastructure, THG (eco) and targeted M&A, and to continue to deliver growth on a global scale.”

THG said Moulding will donate £100 million of THG shares to the charity The Moulding Foundation.

The firm said Moulding “has notified THG of his immediate intention to transfer £100m worth of listed ordinary THG shares into the Foundation, with the intention to distribute proceeds to various charities.”

Ahead of the share transfer, Moulding and his wife hold 319.3 million shares in THG — 25% of the group — on a fully diluted basis.

After the share transfer, Moulding and his wife will own 305 million shares — 24% of the group.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.