Pets at Home has racked up an increase in sales and profits in what it dubbed “an extraordinary year” for the business.

The retailer posted a 35.5% spike in statutory pre-tax profit to £116.4m during the 52 weeks to March 25. On an underlying basis, stripping out the £30.2m it made from the sale of its specialist referral centres but including its £29m business rates repayment, profits fell 6.4% to £87.5m.

Pets at Home boss Peter Pritchard said it “ended this unprecedented year a far stronger pet care business

Pets at Home boss Peter Pritchard said it “ended this unprecedented year a far stronger pet care business

Group sales climbed 7.9% to £1.14bn during the period, as like-for-likes jumped 8.7%. 

In Pets at Home’s core retail business, sales grew at a quicker rate of 8.7%, surpassing the £1bn mark for the first time. Like-for-like retail sales grew 8.8% year on year and jumped 17.3% on a two-year basis.

Like for likes in its veterinary division rose 7.9% year on year and were up 13.2% compared to 2019 levels.

Pets at Home hailed particularly strong growth during its second half when retail like for likes jumped 11.9% despite the impact of a second UK lockdown. 

The business said it was buoyed by an 8% uplift in pet ownership during the period, as its subscription customer base swelled 21% to more than 1 million. 

Since the start of its new financial year, Pets at Home reported “a continuation of the strong momentum across our retail and veterinary operations”. 

Although the retailer cautioned that the trading landscape “remains uncertain”, owing to the emergence of new coronavirus variants, it insisted it had a “robust” model that would allow it to continue trading “with minimal disruption”. 

Pets at Home said it expects to deliver underlying pre-tax profit between £120m and £130m in 2021/22 – a figure that would represent year-on-year growth of at least 37.1%.  

Chief executive Peter Pritchard said: “We ended this unprecedented year a far stronger pet care business. 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.” 

Pritchard said the growth in pet ownership during the past year had “increased the outlook for growth across our addressable market” and offered a “tailwind” to the business as it targets an additional £600m in customer revenue during the medium term. 

Pritchard added: “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.”


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