Pets at Home’s like-for-like growth dropped dramatically after poor sales of health and hygiene products and “very hot weather” in July.

  • Pets at Home blames hot July for drop in product sales
  • Services growth continue to surge in first quarter
  • Overall outlook still in line with market expectations

Like-for-like revenue grew 1.7% during the 16-week period to July 16, compared to 4.2% like-for-like growth during its last financial year.

Poor sales of health and hygiene products were offset by “core strengths” in its advanced nutrition, services and VIP club, which helped drive growth.

Pets at Home chief executive Nick Wood explained the weather was too hot for fleas to hatch, which impacted sales of anti-flea products.

He said: “The best flea season is warm, wet, warm, wet and last year we had floods down in the South West. We have had a tough quarter on some tougher comparitives – it does not feel like sales growth is slowing down.”

Services like-for-like revenue growth jumped 11.7% in total, while merchandise like-for-likes edged up by 0.9%. Total revenue grew 6.4% to £224.2m as merchandise sales increased 4.3% to £200.7m and services surged 28.6% to £23.5m.

Wood said: “We have been particularly pleased with such strong VIP membership signup and swipe rate of the card at tills.

“Following strong health and hygiene product performance in the prior year, we experienced a particularly challenging season this quarter, which alongside a short period of very hot weather in July, created a significant impact on group revenue performance.”

Wood added he was confident new store and services openings, which are weighted in the second half of the year, are on track for the full year and the overall outlook is in line with market expectations.

During the quarter, Pets at Home opened three stores, six veterinary practices, four Groom Room salons and the second of its Barkers stores, a high street premium dog store.  

Pets at Home now has 3.6 million members of its VIP loyalty scheme, an increase of 400,000 during the quarter.