Pets at Home has today released its FY21 interim results, revealing total group revenue growth of 5.1% to £574.4m.
Pre-tax profit grew by more than 14% to £38.9m.
Group CEO Peter Pritchard said: “There is much to be optimistic about.”
However, the share price dropped by 7.3% to 388p in early trading, BBC analysts reported.
This was due to the company’s warning of uncertainty over the on-going pandemic. It said: “At this stage, absent any escalation of restrictions, or other significant disruption to our operations, we now anticipate full-year underlying pre-tax profit to be in line with the prior year, with the estimated financial impact of the pandemic not fully offset by the year’s business rates relief.”
Like-for-like revenue rose 5.8%, up 14.8% on a two-year basis.
The business made a pretax profit of £38.9m, compared with £34m for the same period the year before.
Peter said: “The market in which we operate remains resilient, with recent changes to our work and leisure patterns supporting rising levels of pet ownership, a good proxy for future growth in both the underlying market and our business.
“We adapted our operations rapidly post the onset of the pandemic, and our focus on customer acquisition is underpinning market share gains across all channels and strong growth in our VIP and Puppy and Kitten Clubs, thereby increasing the long-term opportunity of using data-driven, joined-up solutions across our range of products and services to drive customer share of wallet and lifetime value.
“We are introducing new ways to meet our customers’ needs across all channels, making pet care as affordable, convenient, engaging and flexible as possible, and our customer-centric pet care platform, underpinned by the most extensive and unique proprietary pet dataset in the UK and a true omnichannel backbone, provides us with significant competitive advantages.
“There is much to be proud of over the last six months and much to look forward to in equal measure. While we will continue to remain focused and agile in our execution, we are, more than ever, confident in the resilience and longevity of our pet care platform.”
The retailer said it had continued to take market share across all channels and had adapted its operations in order to continue providing pet care with minimal disruption during the pandemic.
Ross Hindle, analyst at Third Bridge, said Pets at Home had benefited from ‘essential trader’ status.
He said: “Pets at Home is benefiting from a rise in pet ownership during lockdown and a growing trend of pet food premiumisation. This means a growth in pet accessories as well as increased demand for higher-margin pet foods. The retailer’s online sales are now nudging close to 20% penetration.”
“Collectively this means Pets at Home is expected to outperform the market, with margin expansion aided by a strong private label offering. The big questions are; how much did social distancing and other safety measures impact margins and how sustainable will their success be in 2021?”