Retail group Pets at Home has seen its total revenues increase by 18% to £302m in the 12 weeks to December 31 compared to the same period in 2019.
In its third-quarter trading statement, the company reported comparable sales growth of 17.6% despite covid-19 restrictions, as well as its vet group revenues increasing by 22.1%.
During this period the company also launched two ‘next generation stores’ in Camden and Putney. CEO Peter Pritchard told the London Standard the company was now on the hunt for up to 20 similar sites in London, where it plans to open high street branches to cater for a new wave of animal owners in the capital since the first lockdown.
In the Q3 trading update Peter said: “Against a backdrop of continued uncertainty our pet care model remains robust, with our performance during the third quarter testament not only to the advantages of our scalable omnichannel pet care platform and unique joint venture veterinary model, but also the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues across the group, to whom I express sincere thanks.
“We entered our final quarter facing renewed challenges in the form of higher covid infection rates and restrictions on a national level, and our priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our colleagues, partners and customers.
“Mindful of this challenging environment, I remain confident that the changes we have made to our business enable us to continue providing essential pet care to our customers in a safe and appropriate manner, not only through strict adherence to the protocols which we introduced across our stores and veterinary practices at the onset of the pandemic, and continue to strengthen, but also in a number of other ways, from contactless collection and delivery of pet products to virtual heath care consultations.
“I am very pleased with the progress we have made in this quarter, in particular how we have adapted to the changing environment in which we operate. We remain as determined as ever to create the best pet care platform in the world, and our strong liquidity gives us the capacity to make the right investments to support our ambition.”
The company’s balance sheet was strengthened in the period through £80m in initial cash proceeds relating to the disposal of its specialist hospital division.
It also saw continued growth in its VIP and Puppy & Kitten clubs with increasing spend across its pet care platform.
Retail sector analyst Ross Hindle, of Third Bridge, commented: “The 12% YoY growth in VIP Club membership is especially noteworthy, as it enhances lifetime customer value in what is an already customer-sticky industry.”
“Pets at Home is expected to outperform the market, with long-term margin expansion aided by a strong private label offering. However, the repayment of the business rates relief and added Covid-19 costs will create short-term margin pressure.”