Profits at Butcher’s Pet Care have plummeted from £6.2m to £642,000 for the financial year ended July 31, 2018, as it counts the cost of its investment programme.
Turnover at the family-owned Northamptonshire business, however, grew from £78.7m to £83m in the same period.
In its annual report, founder Graham Baker said: “After 10 years of successive revenue growth to 2015, the company has embarked on a three-year investment programme to create the next platform of growth. 2019 is the final year of this step change investment programme with investment in brand equity, people and infrastructure.”
In a statement for parent company FW Baker, Graham said 2018 saw the investment of capital projects of £8.1m (£9.5m in 2017), enabling its Crick site to ‘manufacture all formats of wet food for pets’.
He said: “I am pleased to report good progress with UK sales up 7% and international sales up 5%. We continue to experience a great reception for our brand internationally with shoppers and customers and we have created sustainable positions in our chosen markets. For example in Poland, sales were 7% up and a number of key new retail distribution points have been established in the last 12 months.”
He added: “The high level of investment in brand, people and supply chain for future growth has had a planned decrease in profit.”
Butcher’s Pet Care chairman Geoff Eaton told Insider Media: “Butcher’s Pet Care is a business in transformation, building on a family farming heritage and leading the way in creating socially responsible, natural, nutritious food for pets. We are investing in our people, our processes and our food.
“The Butcher’s brand is being re-launched with new improved recipes for dogs with higher meat content sourced from British and Irish farms, grain free, complete and balanced and with no nasties.
“The best food for our pets at an affordable price. We are the first to market with fully recyclable, plastic free, cans in cardboard to help our customers do the right thing.”
He said the company had also launched Blink!, a complete premium cat food using high-quality ingredients such as flaked and shredded fillets.
He added: “Our international business is growing fast in Eastern Europe where consumers appreciate the quality of our natural range of products.
“The transformation is comprehensive, involves considerable investment and will take time. The early signs of growth are encouraging.”