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The Hut Group enjoys a lift from its beauty division over the festive period with sales up 51% 

The Hut Group enjoys a lift from its beauty division over the festive period with sales up 51% 

The Hut Group cemented its stock market darling status after posting a steep jump in sales over the festive period. The online retailer said its

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The Hut Group cemented its stock market darling status after posting a steep jump in sales over the festive period. 

The online retailer said its beauty division, which includes its Look fantastic and Glossybox websites as well as Espa and Eyeko, helped drive a 51 per cent rise in sales in the three months to December 31. 

Online beauty sales came in at £298.2 million in the quarter – a rise of 66.2 per cent – while its nutrition sales were up 39.6 per cent to £158.2 million. 

The Hut Group cemented its stock market darling status after posting a steep jump in sales over the festive period

The Hut Group cemented its stock market darling status after posting a steep jump in sales over the festive period

The Hut Group cemented its stock market darling status after posting a steep jump in sales over the festive period

Overall sales grew to £558.7 million, compared with a year earlier. Off the back of the results, the company upped full-year revenue guidance for the third time. Shares rose another 1 per cent, or 8p, to 798p, having floated at 500p four months ago. The firm is now valued at £7.7 billion. 

Executive chairman Matthew Moulding, who started Hut in 2004 selling DVDs online, has a stake worth £623 million and is in line for share awards of over £800 million having seen the value of the company soar. 

The 48-year-old said 2020 had been a barnstorming year, saying: ‘Following our successful listing on the London Stock Exchange in September 2020, we have accelerated our sales growth across all areas of the group, underpinned by record new customer numbers. 

‘We have also invested significantly in our people, creating 3,000 jobs during 2020.’ 

But while Hut has made a seamless transition to life as a listed company, questions remain over the power held by Moulding, and the corporate governance structure. 

The firm has been criticised for handing Moulding both the executive chairman and chief executive roles, along with a ‘golden share’ that allows him to block hostile takeover attempts for three years. 

It has sought to improve governance by appointing independent directors and yesterday Hut added Tiffany Hall to the board. 

Hall was previously a director at Howden Joinery and is chair of the remuneration committee at B&M European Value Retail. The number of independents on the eight-member board is now four. Moulding said: ‘Tiffany’s appointment is further testament to the board’s commitment to making quality appointments.’ 

Hut has also set up a sub-comittee of special advisers and added lawyers Katie Vickery, of Osborne Clark, and Andrew Dyson, a partner at DLA Piper, to it.    

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This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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