UK firm buys Australian e-tailer

RY founders

Australian online beauty store RY.com.au (RY) was acquired last week by The Hut Group, an e-commerce platform based in the UK, which operates a number of brands and websites in the health and beauty space.

As part of the deal, RY co-founders James Patten and Bradley Carr have left the business, though Carr told Internet Retailing most of the team will stay on and the brand will remain.

“Myself and James are really excited about the exit,” he said. “The Hut Group has really good potential to take RY to the next level. We’re really pleased to have found an acquirer that paid the price we wanted.”

Carr did not disclose the terms of the deal, but he said an agreement was reached fairly quickly. “We knew they were pretty serious about moving into the Aussie market, they looked at our portfolio and we sort of bumped into each other.”

The Hut Group acquired Sydney-based beauty website Skincarestore.com.au in May 2016 and ships into Australia from its UK-based websites lookfantastic, Myprotein, Grow Gorgeous and Mio Skincare.

The company has also acquired international beauty box business Glossybox and expects to announce further significant investments in beauty this year.

According to founder and CEO of The Hut Group, Matthew Moulding, The Hut Group is now the leading online retailer for health and beauty in Australia, though at least one industry expert disputes the claim.

“We are delighted at the acquisition of RY.com.au, a leading player in the growing Australian haircare and beauty market and a business that complements our existing beauty websites such as lookfantastic and Skincarestore,” he said.

At THG, we have a clear focus on Health, Beauty and Technology and we are very proud that this most recent investment sees us become the number one online retailer for Health & Beauty in Australia. Crucially, it marks another step towards our goal of being the number one in Health & Beauty globally.”

Carr and Patten started RY in 2005 on the Gold Coast, growing the business from a bricks-and-mortar hair salon to an online beauty store, carrying over 250 premium brands.

At the time of sale, Carr and Patten also operated two RY-branded bricks-and-mortar stores, as well as a third store that had not yet been rebranded. Carr and Patten have retained ownership of this store.

Carr said he and Patten will likely work together again on a new venture, but did not share any details.

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