// Pets at Home sales and profits rise despite uncertainty of Covid-19
// Statutory pre-tax profit reached £116.4m during the 52 weeks to March 25
// The retailer said it was boosted by an 8% rise in pet ownership during the period
Pets at Home has witnessed an increase in sales and profits thanks to an “extraordinary year”.
The pets goods retailer posted a 35.5 per cent rise in statutory pre-tax profit to £116.4 million during the 52 weeks to March 25.
On an underlying basis, profits dropped 6.4 per cent to £87.5 million, while group sales rose 7.9 per cent to £1.14 billion, as like-for-likes jumped 8.7 per cent during the period.
In Pets at Home’s core retail business, sales grew at a quicker rate of 8.7 per cent, smashing £1 billion for the first time.
Like-for-like retail sales grew 8.8 per cent year on year and jumped 17.3 per cent on a two-year basis.
Like-for-likes in its veterinary division rose 7.9 per cent year-on-year and was up 13.2 per cent compared to 2019 levels.
Retail like-for-likes jumped 11.9 per cent despite the impact of a second national lockdown.
The retailer said it was boosted by an eight per cent uplift in pet ownership during the period, as its subscription customer base increased by 21 per cent to more than one million.
Although it warned that the trading landscape “remains uncertain”, it insisted it had a “robust” model that would allow it to continue trading “with minimal disruption”.
Pets at Home said it now expects to deliver underlying pre-tax profit between £120 million and £130 million in 2021/22.
For the year ahead, the business plans to invest £70 million across three key areas: the continuation of its store transformation programme that is focused on repurposing the existing store estate into next generation pet care centres; investment in growing its digital and data expertise across the business as it accelerates its digital pet care experience; and a major new national distribution centre.
“We ended this unprecedented year a far stronger pet care business,” Pets at Home boss Peter Pritchard said.
“Despite challenges to how we were able to do business, we grew our market share across all channels and our underlying growth trajectory accelerated.
“Our loyalty clubs saw record periods of new customer registration, strong growth in subscription customers increased the visibility and quality of our sales profile, whilst new clients across our veterinary estate helped increase practice profitability and cash flow.
“We will, as the UK’s leading omnichannel pet care provider, capitalise on this opportunity through continued investment in our infrastructure, further digitising our business and leveraging our extensive and unique dataset to provide insight throughout the customer lifetime to support investment decision-making that will drive quality and profitable growth.”