THG losses narrow as group ups use of AI and automation

  • THG saw annual loss narrow and revenue grew in the final quarter  

THG losses narrowed last year as the retailer boosted the use of ‘automation’ and AI across its operations. 

The group, whose stable of brands include Look Fantastic and My Protein, posted a reported loss before tax of £252million, against a loss of £549.7million in 2022. 

Total revenue fell 8.4 per cent year-on-year to around £2billion, but inched 1.1 per cent higher in the final quarter. 

Earnings before nasties outperformed January’s forecast of £117million, rising by 48 per cent year-on-year to a record £120million, the group said. 

Auto growth: THG boss Matthew Moulding is upping the use of AI and automation across the group

Matthew Moulding, chief executive of THG, said: ‘In 2023, we made material progress against our strategic priorities, delivering significant profit growth following the support for our consumers through the cost-of-living crisis in 2022.

‘This focus led to the Group delivering record EBITDA after cash-adjusting items in 2023, higher than at the peak of the pandemic.

‘Having completed our recent infrastructure investment programme, the Group is now delivering operating leverage. 

THG said it would increase automation in its major hubs this year ‘to further offset lingering inflation and move towards our goal of around half of customer orders being touched by automation’. 

Moulding added: ‘Our fulfilment network is becoming increasingly optimised through a combination of robotics automation, AI and the onboarding of new Ingenuity clients utilising existing capacity.

‘The return to Group revenue growth in Q4 was especially pleasing, and this momentum has continued into 2024.’

But administrative costs increased last year, which the group blamed on ‘marketing cost inflation’, but this was partially offset by ‘greater app participation’.

THG said its cash stash stood at £600million by the end of the period. 

It exited a number of ‘loss making categories’ during the period and sold THG OnDemand. 

Looking ahead, THG said it remained confident of a return to 9 per cent adjusted EBITDA margins ‘in the medium term.’

THG shares were down 0.66 per cent or 0.45p to 67.40p on Wednesday, having risen over 5 per cent in the last year. 

The group will publish a trading update for the first quarter later this month.