Value store Poundstretcher is ramping up its ingress into the pet market with the launch of its dedicated in-house pet store, Pet Hut.
The 400-strong chain has long been selling pet products, and owner Aziz Tayub says Pet Hut is a natural progression. Aziz also owns cash and carry giant Crown Crest, based in Leicester.
There are now five dedicated Pet Hut stores: in Leicester; Diss (Norfolk); Mansfield (Notts); Barry (South Glamorgan); and Sunderland. All have opened since October.
Shehzad Tayub, Crown Crest operations director, told Leicester Mercury: “The concept of the Pet Hut is new to us. We have the products in normal Poundstretchers anyway, we are just adding more lines. It’s a complete new brand we launched three to four months ago.”
Poundstretcher is part way through a multi-million pound campaign to open 30 stores in the last three months of the year. Its next target is 450 stores, and it’s been reported that the company would ideally like to hit an eventual target of 900 stores.
Crown Crest finance director Hemant Patel said future stores would ideally be around 20,000sq ft, so they could incorporate a Pet Hut.
Following the recent opening of a Poundstretcher in Leicester, he explained: “We have been doing pet products anyway and it’s a growing market and a bit of an opportunity for us.”
Also speaking at the opening, Graham Page, Crown Crest non-executive director, said: “Because this is a 20,000sq ft store, it means we can give 3,000-4,000 sq ft to the Pet Hut without impacting on the rest of the store.”
Poundstretcher's turnover grew from £348 million to £367 million in the year to March 31 as the number of new stores grew, while turnover in Crown Crest's wholesaling division dropped from £97 million to £63 million last year.
The wholesale side has been hit by the independent discount stores it supplies going directly to manufacturers, one of the reasons the business is expanding Poundstretcher.
As well as opening new stores, the company has carried out an aggressive refit programme in about 100 stores at a cost of more than £10 million.