Pets at Home today raised its profit expectations for its full financial year as sales continued to grow quickly both online and offline in the Christmas quarter.
It said in a third quarter trading update today that it expected to see full-year pre-tax profits come in at at least £77m after it has repaid £28.9m in business rates relief, as previously announced. That represents an improvement on the previous market consensus but a fall from the previous year. In the year to March 26, the retailer reported pre-tax profits of £99.5m on sales of £1.1bn.
The update came as the retailer said it had seen sales grow quickly across all of its channels in the third quarter of its financial year, to December 31. Like-for-like sales growth – which strips out the effect of store openings and closures – was in the “high teens” during December.
Pets at Home, a Top50 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, trades online and from 451 UK shops, which are all now able to open since the retailer is in the essential category. Its 440 First Opinion vet practices are not currently restricted to emergency-only work as they were in the first lockdown.
The retailer has benefitted during the year as a rise in home working led more people to consider buying pets. In the first half of its financial year, to October 8, it saw omnichannel sales grow by 65.8% to account for 15.2% of its revenues. It put that down to its previous and continued investment in digital retailing and safe and convenient ways to buy. At the time, Pets at Home chief executive Peter Pritchard said changes to work and leisure patterns had meant more people were able to own pets. “We are introducing new ways to meet our customers’ needs across all channels, making pet care as affordable, convenient, engaging and flexible as possible,” he said.