Pets at Home sales grew strongly in-store and online in the first 16 weeks of its financial year, as new pet owners continue to buy from it across channels.
Today’s figures show group sales came in at £377.8m for the 16 weeks from March 26 to July 15, 25.7% up on the same time last year, while retail revenues – including online sales – were 29.1% ahead. Omnichannel revenues grew by 21.4% on last time, and accounted for 15.6% of sales in the quarter – down from 16.6% a year earlier.
The retailer now expects to see full-year underlying pre-tax profits to come in at £130m, £42.5m – or 49% – ahead of the previous year and at the top end of analyst expectations.
Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home group chief executive, says: “It is pleasing to note that many of the positive trends from our last financial year have accelerated in the current quarter. Key indicators point to continued growth in pet ownership, providing a supportive backdrop to long-term growth across the underlying market and our business, and we continue to see strong growth in new customers, subscription plans and veterinary clients. I remain incredibly grateful to all our colleagues and partners across the group for their continuous hard work and excellent customer service.
“Our unique, omnichannel pet care strategy continues to deliver, with strong momentum across both sides of our business, as well as good progress against our strategic priorities, meaning we look to the future with much confidence.”
Over the quarter, the retailer says its active VIP numbers grew by 17%, year-on-year, to 6.6m – and that 26% of VIPs bought across more than one channel during the quarter. Puppy and Kitten Club members grew by 167%. Subscription plan numbers were 24% ahead at more than 1.3m.
The Pets at Home digital transformation programme Polestar is now underway, with plans to add customer value through a series of phases over the next 18 months, starting with development of both a mobile customer app and a single customer login to all pet care services.
The retailer is also revamping its shops and veterinary services, with its latest two new pet care centres in Handforth and Clacton-on-Sea featuring digital functionality, services and a multi-use event space.
The retailer is still renegotiating store rents and says recent reductions have typically been of more than 20%. It is also rolling out recycling facilities for plastic pet food packaging, and expect to have them in most of its stores within 18 months. It will then use an innovative pyrolysis process to recycle them.
Pets at Home is a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research.