THG slashes outlook as living costs weigh on customers

Headquartered in Manchester Airport, The Hut Group, operates over 100 international websites.
Headquartered in Manchester Airport, The Hut Group, operates over 100 international websites.

RETAILER THG has slashed its sales outlook for the current year as it said customers are feeling the pressure of rising living costs.

The company reported a drop in profit for the first half of the year, but worried investors even further with a major downgrade to its outlook for the year.

Revenue will still grow, the company announced, but by less than previously thought. Earlier this year bosses had thought they could see growth between 19 per cent and 24 per cent.

But on Thursday they revealed a new forecast - just 10 per cent to 15 per cent growth during the year, a massive downgrade that left shares reeling.

Chief executive Matthew Moulding said he is "proud" the company grew revenue by a little over 12 per cent to £1.1 billion in the first half of the year "against a challenging backdrop".

He said: "Our highly engaged global customer base, with high repeat rates, is a key asset of the business. Recently achieving 10 million app downloads from launch in early 2020 further strengthens the group's relationship with consumers and our first party data advantage.

"Against the tough macro-economic backdrop, we have prioritised our loyal customer base over maximising near-term gross margins, focusing on retention and growth of consumers."

Shares traded down around 13 per cent at one point on Thursday morning.

It is not the first time in recent months that shareholders have taken a massive hit on their THG investments.

When the company listed in early 2021 it was worth around £5bn. Its market value is now £561m.

On Thursday, it also warned that earnings will be lower than previously expected. Adjusted Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was previously expected to stay at around £161m - the same as last year.

Now the business expects it to reach between £100 million and £130 million.

It said pre-tax loss dropped 25 per cent to £81m in the first six months of the year.