Pets at Home says sales have continued to grow strongly both online and offline in the last eight weeks, despite uncertainties brought by Brexit and Covid-19. Its pre-tax profits are set to beat expectations as a result.
The multichannel pet care retailer, ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, is now forecasting full-year pre-tax profits of about £85m after repaying £28.9m in business rates relief. It had previously expected profits to reach at least £77m – and that was an improvement on its previous expectations. The latest forecast came in an extra fourth quarter trading update today.
Pets at Home says its “strong and broad-based growth across all channels and categories” will mean sales are ahead of expectations despite a “challenging external environment”. Those challenges include rising rates of infection throughout January and early February and Covid-19 lockdowns, as well as “potential supply disruption relating to the UK’s exist from the European Union”.
It now sees economic uncertainty reducing thanks to positive progress on Covid-19 vaccinations, but says its priority “remains safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our colleagues, partners and staff.”
Pets at Home’s current financial year has been entirely dominated by Covid-19. As an essential retailer it has been able to stay open during lockdowns and it has been able to use its previous investment in multichannel retailing to offer services including click and collect by car. It has also benefited as more people bought pets at a time as they were able to work from home, rather than from an office.
But although its profits will be better than expected, they are still lagging behind those it reported last year. In the year to March 26 2020, Pets at Home reported pre-tax profits of £99.5m on sales of £1.1bn.
Pets at Home trades online and from 451 shops, many with vets practices and grooming salons.