A chain of pet stores that needed to upgrade its online services during the coronavirus crisis has received a £1million loan boost.
Pet Place, which owns five superstores across North Wales, obtained the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from Lloyds Bank after successfully scaling up its online and click and collect services. Demand for the service increased by 600% during lockdown, which meant a rapid change to its operating model in the first few weeks.
With stores experiencing reduced footfall, the seven-figure CBILS loan has enabled the business to ramp up its online activity. As well as supporting a relaunch of its website, the support has made it possible for Pet Place to increase the availability of popular product lines for pet owners while committing to paying its suppliers swiftly.
The bank funding comes after a period of significant investment across Pet Place’s superstores after it rebranded from Farm & Pet Place. Stores remain open for click and collect services.
Sion Pritchard, director at Pet Place, said: “Our online presence has always been designed to supplement the revenue generated by our physical stores so the sudden and vast increase in online orders presented a major challenge. While we’ve been able to successfully redeploy our resources, we wouldn’t have been able to move so quickly or meet the working capital demands of such an exercise without this emergency funding – particularly given the level of investment we’ve put into our stores in the last year.
“Our overall business has been by no means immune to the economic effects of the current pandemic but, with the support of the team at Lloyds Bank, we’ve been able to meet them head on while keeping our employees safe and our suppliers paid in full.”
Trevor Percival, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “We’ve been by the side of Pet Place for more than a decade and, in that time, have seen it evolve its offer while delivering growth. It’s perhaps no surprise then that the team had been agile enough to adapt its operations so quickly and use the loan scheme to reduce the impact of lockdown on sales. As current measures ease, I’ve every expectation that Sion and the team will have developed a stronger more resilient business for the future.”