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Pets at Home sales pass £1bn in year that saw omnichannel sales grow by more than a quarter

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Pets at Home’s full-year revenues have passed £1bn for the first time, after a year in which omnichannel sales grew by 27.8%. 

The retailer, ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research, today reported overall sales of £1.06bn in the year to March 26, 10.2% up in total compared to the previous year, or 9.4% ahead on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Pre-tax profits of £85.9m were up by 73% from £49.6m a year earlier, and the retailer said it now had more than 865,000 customers subscribing to its products – up by 23% compared to the same time last year.  

But, said Pets at Home group chief executive Peter Pritchard: “In normal circumstances, it would have given me great pleasure to reflect on another year in which we have grown sales and profits and successfully executed our proven pet care strategy. These are, however, far from normal circumstances with the rapid, wide-ranging and devastating effects of Covid-19 having an unprecedented impact on all of our lives.”

The retailer showed the impact of the wider coronavirus lockdown on its business. Although Pets at Home has been able to keep its shops open, sales have remained below last year’s levels since the week of March 27. Online sales have been “materially elevated” but, said Pritchard, they were not able to compensate for the reduced level of in-store sales, while it has also spent £5m on its initial Covid-19 response – affecting profits in the current financial year. Innovations that it has introduced include a “call and deliver-to-car” service. 

It added: “Our previous investment in automation, fulfilment and digital capability has given us capacity to process double the pre-Covid-19 level of online orders, both across our UK-wide network of stores, which can be leveraged to meet omni-channel demand, and delivery direct to home. Mindful of the prevailing channel shift to online, which we expect Covid-19 to accelerate, we have been assessing options across our logistics network to ensure that we have a well-invested, fit-for-purpose platform that is capable of managing future growth and driving efficiency benefits.”

The retailer says it is now preparing for the end of the lockdown and says it is determined to create “a stronger pet care business in a post-pandemic future”. It says that new lockdown shopping behaviour, including social distancing and “the preference to purchase goods and services safely and conveniently” may continue in the future, although long and medium-term effects are hard to predict. The retailer says that having responded quickly and made significant changes to the way it operates, it will need to remain “focused yet agile” in the future. Pets at Home says it is too early to make predictions for its current financial year. 

Image courtesy of Pets at Home

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