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Pets at Home sees fast third-quarter growth in VIP members, spending and subscriptions

Sign-ups to the Pets at Home Puppy and Kitten Club are now running three times higher than during the pandemic. Image: Fotolia

Pets at Home says it continues to see fast growth in the number of customers signing up to its VIP loyalty club and its subscription schemes. Spending also rose as shoppers treated their pets in the third, Christmas, quarter of the retailer’s financial year.

Sales grew as VIP memberships grew by 8% to 7.6m and sign ups to its Puppy and Kitten Club were running at an average 23k a week. That’s three times as many as during the pandemic, when there was a rise in pet ownership as more people worked from home. At the same time, says the pet supplies and services business, revenues from VIP customers grew by 12.7% to £1.2bn. Subscription plans grew by 9% to 1.6m, and now generate more than £135m a year in recurring revenues.

The update came as Pets at Home reports group revenue of £347.5m in the 12 weeks to January 5 2023. That’s 8.8% up on the same time last year. Retail sales grew by 8% in total, and by 7.6% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Vet group revenues were 18.1% up on last time (+18% LFL).

Looking ahead, the retailer says “robust trading momentum” has continued into its fourth quarter and it now expects full-year pre-tax profits to be at the higher end of market expectations – of between £126m to £136m – and ahead of its previous guidance of £131m. 

Multichannel strategy

Pets at Home says that during the third quarter it has continued to develop its digital platform, launching a new mobile app that brings together its VIP customer loyalty scheme with transactional shopping. It is now trialling nutrition subscriptions in-store. It also says it is on track to have its new purpose-built distribution site by this summer.

Lyssa McGowan, Pets at Home chief executive, says: “We delivered a really pleasing Q3 with acceleration in sales momentum across the platform. Importantly, the quality of our growth remains strong as we continue to grow volumes and attract new consumers through offering compelling value and service, in what remains a challenging inflationary environment.

“It was particularly pleasing to see our accessories category return to growth, supported by the strong performance in our Christmas range, demonstrating that consumers still want to treat their beloved pets in these challenging times.”

Pets at Home, which sells online and through 457 shops, many of which have vet practices and grooming salons, is ranked Top150 in RXUK Top500 research. It has 444 vet practices in total. 

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