Pets at Home has reported a surge in its full-year profits and sales but warns that coronavirus costs will impact its bottom line in the year ahead.
The pet care retailer posted an 11% uplift in underlying pre-tax profit to £99.5m in the 52 weeks to March 26.
Group revenue in the year rose 10.2% to £1bn – marking the first time the retailer’s sales have surpassed that threshold – 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%.
The number of subscriptions across the group rose 23% to 865,000 during the period, while omnichannel revenue climbed 27.8% and like-for-like sales across the group’s veterinary division rose 5.6%.
Chief executive Peter Pritchard said: “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. 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.”
Pets at Home said that trading in its current financial year is down year on year as a strong uplift in online sales is “unable to mitigate the reduced level of in-store sales, and their weighting towards food, together with an additional £5m of costs relating to our initial response to Covid-19, has had an adverse effect on profits, margins and cashflow in the financial year to date.”
As a result of reduced sales combined with increased costs the retailer said it expects its pre-tax profit for its current financial year to be “material below the prior year”.
To date Pets at Home has chosen 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, though the retailer said it may use the furlough support provided by the government at a later date.