Pets at Home has reported strong half-year results, with revenue up 9.4% to £546m compared to £499m for the same period last year.
Group CEO Peter Pritchard said the retail chain has ‘much to look forward to’, and that the strong half-year means it is on track to deliver full year profit growth ahead of plan.
For the 28 weeks to October 10, 2019, underlying pre-tax profits were up from £37.9m to £41.7m, while the total figure soared from £7.96m to £34m.
Pets at Home now expects a profit at the top end of the company-compiled consensus of between £87m and £93m.
Peter said: “I am very pleased with what we have achieved in the first half of the year. We have executed our plans well, and this has been reflected in the strong customer sales growth across the Group. Our commitment, and that of the Group’s Joint Venture Partners, is to make sure pets and their owners get the very best advice, care and products; and this has led to record levels of VIPs, First Opinion practice clients and subscription customers. In short, our pet care strategy is working.
“We have seen sustained momentum in retail, with a two-year like-for-like of 13%. This has been complemented by a meticulous delivery of our Vet Group recalibration. The programme to buy out a number of Joint Venture practices is already complete, whilst changes we have made to the fee arrangements for ongoing practices are already showing signs of positive progress and will be followed by further planned adjustments in the second half of the year.
“All this provides a strong foundation, meaning we have much to look forward to in FY20 and beyond, and we now expect to return to profit growth a year ahead of our original plan. In the meantime, we will remain focussed on serving our customers, their pets and our partners better than ever before.”
Last year, the company said it was expanding its higher-margin veterinary practice after its retail side struggled with weak sales. However, a shortage of specialists in the UK hampered those plans.
Pets at Home has started succession planning for chairman Tony DeNunzio, who has spent more than nine years in the role, in line with the accounting watchdog’s revised corporate code.
New openings will include up to five new stores, grooming salons and vet practices, and the one-off programme to buy out a number of JV practices is now complete.