Private equity owned Pets at Home has shelved a proposed sale or flotation because of adverse conditions in the debt market, despite delivering a sparkling set of profits and sales.
Chief executive Matt Davies said: “There’s no indication from the market at the moment that it’s prepared to pay a fantastic price for a fantastic company. Now is not the time to initiate a process.”
The retailer’s profits soared 55.6 per cent to£30.9 million in the year to March 27 and sales jumped 15.7 per cent from£306.5 million to£354.7 million.
Davies said the Bridgepoint-owned retailer delivered “a strong like-for-like sales performance” in the first 15 weeks since Christmas, but conceded that some customers were opting to buy lower-priced products, such as fish tanks between£19.99 and£79.99, rather than top-of-the-range lines.
Pets at Home expects to complete its store refit programme, which it started in Romford in 2006, in the next three years.
Pets at Home, which has 214 stores in the UK and Ireland, aims to open a further 20 and will largely concentrate on sites inside the M25, which Davies said is “an area of weakness”.
Davies said he thought selling pets, pet equipment and associated services was “fairly resilient” in a consumer downturn. He said: “A lot of things have to go before pets don’t get treated.”
Innovations this year will include a “deli for dogs” area, with duck, prawn and salmon ranges.