LONDON — Tearing a page from Amazon’s delivery playbook, British beauty e-commerce platform The Hut Group plans to take charge of shipping via a deal with Singapore Airlines, and the purchase of two cargo planes that will be branded THG Air.
The Manchester, England-based Hut Group, which generates the bulk of its sales internationally via 178 localized web sites and owns the beauty e-tailer Lookfantastic.com, among other brands, has brokered a deal with Singapore Airlines to charter a series of more than 100 flights to ship goods across Asia. The company also plans to launch THG Air, which will own and operate two dedicated cargo planes that will ship products internationally.
With commercial flights canceled worldwide due to lockdown measures, THG said the new partnership with Singapore Airlines will mean it no longer has to rely on scheduled passenger services to ship finished goods. While many consumer goods are shipped in containers, others travel as cargo on commercial flights, and the grounding of many airlines has meant delays to deliveries across a variety of sectors.
THG said that since the start of 2020 it has been running successful trials, using dedicated cargo flights to service its global operations, especially across the Asia region.
By the end of October 2020, THG said it will have two of its own cargo planes live, branded with the THG Air livery, operating out of Manchester Airport. The company said THG Air will also form a “key pillar” of the THG Ingenuity Service Offering for clients looking for market access in the Asia region.
In recent months, THG has opened three new centers in the U.S., Singapore and India. A further six overseas distribution centers are planned before the end of the year.
Matthew Moulding, founder and chief executive officer of THG, said the recent disruption across the airline industry has brought major challenges in the movement of goods.
“This led us to accelerate our trials for dedicated cargo planes to link together our own global manufacturing and distribution centers. These trials have proved a great success, resulting in today’s partnership with Singapore Airlines. The trials have also given us the confidence to supplement this partnership with the launch of two of our own cargo planes, under the livery of THG Air,” he said.
The Singapore Airlines partnership, he added, will ensure that THG has secured routes from the U.K. to Asia for the foreseeable future, enabling the company to keep its supply chain moving and delivering goods — including essential items such as vitamins, personal care and hygiene products.
Sherine Teo, vice president of digital and e-commerce logistics, Singapore Airlines, said the partnership facilitates the movement of goods across Asia and supports global supply chains. “This collaboration will leverage Singapore Airlines’ flight network to ensure timely and efficient supply and delivery of THG goods to its customers.”
In the year to Dec. 31, THG grew sales by 24 percent to 1.14 billion pounds, with 66 percent of sales generated internationally. More than half of THG’s sales come from its own-brand products, the company said.