Pets at Home says it is continuing to see shoppers buy in a ’new normal’ pattern that includes a greater share of shopping taking place via digital and omnichannel services.
The retailer, ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research, says in a trading update today that the behaviour patterns it flagged up in July – when shoppers continued to buy online following the Covid-19 lockdown and sales rose by 12% in the final eight weeks of its first quarter – continued in the second quarter.
Sales have risen with “double-digit” like-for-like growth in the eight weeks to September 10, as the business has been able to restart pet services and vet procedures.
Pets at Home says it is benefiting both from the strength of the pet care market and from “the adaptability of our operations to changes in customer behaviour and preferences, our continuing investment in omnichannel capability and customer acquisition channnel”.
In today’s trading statement it adds: “Although Covid-19 continues to create a number of material uncertainties around the trading environment, including the risk of a second lockdown, based on trading year to date and as a consequence of the sustained strength in performance we have seen, we now expect full-year underlying pre-tax profit to be ahead of current market expectations.”
During the Covid-19 lockdown period Pets at Home was able to keep trading as an essential retailer, and introduced omnichannel services including a a ‘call and deliver to car’ service and contactless click-and-collect, supported by dedicated parking bays and QR code notifications. It now plans to upgrade its click and collect service with a new order management system.
During that period, the first quarter of its financial year, Pets at Home reported 71% growth in omnichannel sales, while store sales fell by 11.8% – compared to the previous year – during the broader lockdown period, and rose by 12% once shops had reopened more generally.
Pets at Home sells online and from 451 shops and 441 First Opinion vet practices.
Half-year results will be announced on November 24.