The Hut Group founder and chief executive Matthew Moulding © via REUTERS

The Hut Group has boosted sales guidance for the third time since its flotation in September.

The Manchester-based ecommerce retailer said a strong start to the year meant revenue growth of between 30 and 35 per cent, up from previous guidance of 20 to 25 per cent growth.

THG also posted 2020 full-year sales growth of 41 per cent, exceeding its previous target for 38 to 40 per cent growth set in December. The company’s cosmetics business drove the beat, delivering 66 per cent sales growth in the fourth quarter, while its food supplements divisions performed in line with expectations with 40 per cent growth.

THG shares have jumped 58 per cent since its widely criticised flotation, which left founder Matthew Moulding with a controlling share.


Kingfisher, the B&Q and Castorama owner, said it is on track to meet full-year earnings expectations in spite of new lockdown restrictions requiring some areas of its UK stores to be taped off. Current quarter like-for-like sales are up 16.9 per cent with ecommerce sales surging 150 per cent, the retailer said.

Games Workshop’s half-year update showed sales rising 27 per cent to £188.6m and profit before tax ahead 56 per cent to £91.6m. The fantasy model maker said it had delivered “record sales, profit levels and cash generation in the period” with North America a standout market.

Moonpig, the custom greetings card and gift company, set out plans to float on the London Stock Exchange’s premium segment.

Vistry said a strong second half performance meant full-year 2020 profit before tax is expected to be at the top end of the range at around £140m. The housebuilder plans to resume dividends with a “modest” payment for the 2020 full year. With forward sales already covering 55 per cent of its plots for 2021, stable market conditions would allow a step-up in profit before tax to £310m in the current year, Vistry said.

Staffing agency Robert Walters said full-year profit will probably be ahead of market expectations. Fourth-quarter net fee income fell 26 per cent, a moderation versus the previous two quarters, and while market conditions remain challenging there were signs of improvement particularly in Asia Pacific, its largest region, the company said.

Gambling software maker Playtech said in a trading update that full-year earnings would be ahead of expectations, with adjusted ebitda of at least €300m versus a €286m consensus forecast. Core business-to-business online gaming operations and Snaitech, its Italian arm, drove the second-half performance while in the first half the standout performer was Finalto, its financials division that is currently up for sale.

Beyond the Square Mile 

Citigroup donated to the campaign of Josh Hawley of Missouri, who led a group of senators opposing the certification of the presidential election results © Getty Images

Many of the biggest corporate donors on Wall Street and across the US are reviewing their political spending after last week’s assault on the Capitol building. Banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup and the technology groups Facebook and Microsoft have suspended all political donations. Others like AT&T and Amazon have cut off funding only to Republicans who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.

Billionaire investor Louis Bacon chalked up one of the biggest profits of his long trading career during 2020s market turmoil, helped by a decision to return money to outside investors that cleared the way for riskier bets. The veteran fund manager’s firm, Moore Capital, which now manages money primarily for Mr Bacon and other employees, gained more than 70 per cent last year, said people familiar with its performance.

Former Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam is raising a $250m special purpose acquisition vehicle to invest in financial services businesses in the developed and developing world, according to people familiar with the matter. JPMorgan Chase is helping to raise the money after pitching the idea to Mr Thiam, with chief executive Jamie Dimon personally involved, according to these people.

Essential comment before you go

Sarah O’Connor
You don’t have to be a slacker to recoil at the idea of constant monitoring in the workplace. Humans are hard-wired to feel uncomfortable being watched all the time.

Bidders circle Signature Aviation — BBA as was — like planes used to circle backed-up airports, back in the day when runway bottlenecks were a thing. 

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