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Pampered pooches increase pet market up to £5.4bn


Requiring a personal entourage of bag carriers and a shopping basket of Tail Waggers, Lion Long Legs and London Batty chickens, these aren’t your average customers. However, with Pets at Home averaging the worth of the industry at £5.4bn, the pet market is reaching impressive new heights.

With an estimated 9 million pet dogs and 8 million domesticated cats in the UK, pet lovers are going crazy to groom, feed and pamper their four legged friends. According to PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association), dog food profited $1.2bn in 2013, while sales of cat food were up by 4%, adding a further £1bn to figures.

Pets at Home, the largest pet retailer, has recently seen a profit which has increased the company’s worth to £40m. This was linked to its recent introduction of 23 new Groom Rooms, grooming salons where pooches can experience a VIP experience. The salons offer your canine friend baths, a blow dry and pedicure, with treatments starting at £3.

The company now has a portfolio of 152 grooming rooms, which include treatments that can last just under three hours. Additional costs also give you the option of adding a luxury shampoo to the session or a, ‘breath freshening foam’. Selected pets can also be found on a ‘before and after’ page on the Pets at Home website.

With Christmas just around the corner, pet product sales are prospering further, as Pets at Home are watching pet owners, “Go crackers for Christmas gifts”. The company has seen the sale of 135,000 advent calendars and over 285,000 Christmas dog and cat toys this year. Peter Pritchard, commercial director, at Pets at Home stated, “Advent calendars for pets continue to fly off the shelves as people look to give their pets that little extra Christmas treat during the festive season”

Pet fashion items are also high on Christmas lists this year as more than 105,000 Christmas items have been sold to owners eager to spread the festive joy. Pritchard, said: “Obviously pets want to join in on the Christmas Jumper fun this year, and our special Save the Children Christmas Jumper has been very popular”.

Top selling Christmas gifts include advent calendars, Christmas stockings, Pedigree Turkey Schmackos dog treats and Christmas spot ball dog toys. This success has led to a further 600,000 members signing up for Pets at Home membership, boosting the total number of members to 2.6m.

Though Pets at Home is the largest retailer dedicated to pet products in the UK, other retailers are planning to cash in on the thriving industry. John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Primark and George have all dabbled with the pet market this year. ‘Lead the walk’, an online website described by Time Out as a, “Net-a-porter for dogs” and ‘Astar pets’, set up by co-founder of ASOS Quentin Griffiths and Will Cooper, are also set to make their mark on the pet market.

Pets at Home is growing day by day and with expansion into Europe being the obvious next step, the company looks set to lead the way for other UK pet retailers.

Published on Wednesday 17 December by Rachel Gee

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