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Hut Group buys and welcomes new investor as it moves to expand categories

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The Hut Group has bought a specialist cycling retailer and won new funding from the founders of River Island as it pursues a strategy of expanding its categories. (PBK), acquired from Encore Capital, was founded in 1998 and now sells bicycle components, accessories, clothing and sports nutrition supplements. It will sit in The Hut Group’s lifestyle division, alongside its existing websites Myprotein and Myvitamins.

The Hut Group says the move will broaden its lifestyle range while also giving product and customer cross-selling opportunities. It plans to expand PBK’s range into the triathlon area.

Matthew Moulding, chief executive of The Hut Group, said: “Following a review of the sector we identified PBK as the outstanding brand for acquisition given its heritage, the breadth and longevity of its supplier relationships and its international customer reach. Through our due diligence it quickly became apparent that Encore Capital had created a stable and professionalized platform ideal for the group to enter the specialist cycling and triathlon markets.

“We are very excited about the prospect of combining the specialist know-how of PBK with The Hut’s ecommerce expertise to compete in a sector growing at 15% a year.”

To support the category expansion strategy, The Hut Group has also gone about equity fundraising, with the Lewis family, which founded and operates fashion chain River Island becoming a major new shareholder. Clive Lewis will join The Hut Group’s board. “We are delighted to welcome Clive Lewis to the board,” said Angus Monro, chairman of The Hut Group. “Clive’s retailing experience will be invaluable as the group continues to expand its product offering across third party and proprietary own brands.”

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