// Pets at Home full-year profits and sales rise
// Underlying pre-tax profit rose to £99.5m in the 52 weeks to March 26
// Group revenue in the year rose 10.2% reaching £1 billion
Pets at Home has seen its full-year profits and sales rise but cautioned that the costs from the Covid-19 pandemic will impact its business in the year ahead.
The pet goods retailer said its underlying pre-tax profit rose to £99.5 million in the 52 weeks to March 26.
Group revenue in the year rose 10.2 per cent, reaching £1 billion, marking the first time the retailer’s sales have surpassed that threshold.
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This was driven by a 15.9% jump in like-for-like sales during its fourth quarter.
Across the year, overall like-for-like sales increased 9.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of subscriptions across the group rose 23 per cent to 865,000 during the period.
Omnichannel revenue climbed 27.8 per cent and like-for-like sales across the group’s veterinary division rose 5.6 per cent.
“In normal circumstances, it would have given me great pleasure to reflect on another year in which we have grown sales and profits and successfully executed our proven pet care strategy,” Pets at Home chief executive Peter Pritchard said.
“These are, however, far from normal circumstances with the rapid, wide-ranging and devastating effects of Covid-19 having an unprecedented impact on all of our lives.”
Moreover, trading in its current financial year is down year-on-year as a strong uplift in online sales was not enough to offset the reduced level of in-store sales.
Additional costs of £5 million relating to its initial response to Covid-19 has also had an adverse effect on profits, margins and cashflow in the financial year to date.
The retailer now expects its pre-tax profit for its current financial year to be “material below the prior year”.
Pets at Home said it chose not the participate in the government Job Retention Scheme and is paying for the “small proportion of those colleagues for whom a prolonged period of shielding may be necessary” out of its own pocket.
However, the retailer said it may use the furlough scheme at a later date.
It opened 16 retail “stores of the future” during the year – taking the total to 18, and restructured the First Opinion vet business.
Pets at Home also paid a £1.9 million “thank you” bonus to frontline staff.