Pets At Home has posted an increase in sales and profits in its preliminary results as boss Peter Pritchard described the business as “trading strongly and taking share across the pet market”.

The pet retailer’s underlying pre-tax profit climbed 6.1% to £89.7m in the 52 weeks to March 28. 

Revenue increased 6.9% to £961m, driven by a 5.7% rise in like-for-like sales during the period.

However, on a statutory basis profit before tax declined 37.7% to £49.6m, which the retailer attributed to costs of its vet portfolio.

Pets at Home gained market share across all key areas of the business gaining 0.9% in food and 1.1% in accessories with its vet arm increasing 1.2%.

As part of the retailer’s ongoing strategy Pets at Home is focusing on gaining a bigger share of the £6bn market in pet care services.

“You can’t groom a dog on the internet,” chief executive Peter Pritchard said.

“You’ve got to do it in person and that’s another reason to come to our stores - and we’ve got 315 of them.”

Pet care services accounted for 34% of the retailer’s sales during the period with an aim to increase that to 50% of sales by 2020.

The retailer plans to roll out its new ‘store of the future’ concept to more stores across its portfolio in FY20 following the launch of the new store design in Stockport and Chesterfield earlier this month.

The Pets at Home boss said its “really early days” but customers “love what they’ve done” with the new store concept.

“We’re bringing experience to life and creating stores you want to go to.”

Pritchard is “pleased” with the retailer’s progress and results but said “there remains plenty to do.”

“We are trading strongly and taking share across the pet market. Customers are loving our lower prices, the convenience of subscription packages, high-quality veterinary care and pet healthplans.

“I’m pleased with our progress and the results we have delivered, but there remains plenty to do. I’m confident we will successfully reposition our vet group so that, with the strong performance in retail, we will be well placed to deliver our strategy.”