The Hut to float by spring 2011

Ben Parfitt
The Hut to float by spring 2011

The Hut Group has revealed plans to become a publicly listed company within the next 12 months after securing £14 million worth of investment.

The retailer secured the money last week and says it will use the cash to enter new product categories – either organically or by acquisition – so it can increase its annual turnover to £100m this year.

The online giant also wants to double its staff headcount as it seeks to close the gap between itself and Amazon and Play.com.

“The goal is to float,” The Hut’s mergers and acquisitions director Steven Whitehead (pictured) told MCV.

“One thing is increased public awareness. There is a trading benefit to being a public company online, not least because people get a sense of security when dealing with a PLC.

“The second main thing, aside from profile, is equity. There is a collaborative culture from being a PLC and most members of our staff have some form of financial interest in The Hut.”

The Hut’s future plans include rejuvenating its white label business. The firm revealed earlier this week that it will power an entertainment site for Debenhams, and is currently developing a system that allows games and more to be sold through Debenhams’ existing web store.

This removes the need for a white label site.

The firm also plans to acquire businesses and enter new product categories.

“We are looking to move into more areas that suit our established delivery platform,” continued Whitehead.

“So non-perishable, fast moving consumer goods. Over and above the things we already do, we’re looking at footwear, sports goods and health and beauty.

“Entertainment will always remain core. It is the biggest online consumer group. And by bringing more customers to The Hut through sportswear or a nail grooming range, we hope to cross-sell our core entertainment products to them.

“£100 million is our target to turnover this year. Anything north of that is an exceptional achievement and puts us in a small category of retailers on the internet.”

The Hut Group is the third-biggest online entertainment retailer behind Amazon and Play, having overtaken HMV online in Q4.

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