Wholesaler Vital Pet Group has extended its Lifeline Fund until October in line with the government’s furloughing arrangements.
The fund offers Vital customers an opportunity to extend their credit terms with the company to help them through a difficult period of trading caused by lockdown restrictions.
But Vital says there is evidence that brighter times are ahead for the independent sector and it is already starting to stock new lines.
Vital’s sales and marketing director Heather McManus said: “We’re seeing evidence of an increase in people using specialist and independent shops. This crisis has helped people focus on the value of local businesses, and many people are more comfortable shopping in smaller outlets where it may be easier to adopt social distancing. We hope this is a trend that will help the trade as lockdown restrictions start to ease.”
The wholesaler has recently listed leading brands Lily’s Kitchen and Edgard Cooper and is also stocking new lines from Billy and Margot.
There are also new exclusives from a number of brands under the Pet Brands banner. Elkwood has a new range of vegetable-based dog chews, including some inspired by the seaside with shell, sea horse and star fish shapes and the inclusion of seaweed, which has a number of nutritional benefits.
Also new are Playsticks from The Chew Factory – offering chewing satisfaction but without the risk of injury or splintering that can occur with real sticks. There is a new range of dual material dog toys from Astrodog with impact-activated flashing lights. And just as the weather is warming up, there’s a new range of accessories under the Cooler brand, including bandanas and mats.
Pawstex offers a range of tough toys and Polydog updates the traditional squeaky toy with modern geometric shapes and stand out colours.
Heather added: “We’re doing all we can to support retailers in these difficult times. Going forwards, retailers have to keep those new customers who ‘discovered’ them in lockdown, as well as continuing to delight loyal customers. New products are a great way to do that so we’ll be continuing our mission to bring more innovation into the channel, as well as offering retailers a helping hand with the Lifeline Fund to support them during recovery.”
Vital is taking pre-orders now on Christmas stock until the end of July.
Retailers who want to apply to the fund should send their account number to [email protected] and add Vital Lifeline Fund to the subject line. The Vital team will aim to review the application and respond in no more than five days.