Pets at Home posted increased sales during its first quarter and raised its full year guidance but “remains cautiously optimistic” in the current climate.

The pet specialist registered group sales growth of 9.9% to £303.4m during the 16 weeks to July 18.

Its retail arm of the business was up 8.7% to £266.4m for the same period and its online sales jumped 36% to £26m. Its vet practice revenue jumped 18.8% to £37m.

It now expects its underlying profit for the year to be “slightly above current market expectations”.

Pets at Home chief executive Peter Pritchard said: “The momentum with which we exited FY19 has continued into the first quarter of FY20. We have seen a strong sales performance across the business, particularly in retail where like-for-like sales were 8.2% – an impressive 14% on a two-year basis.

“We are also making good progress in our vet group. Our plans to buy out a number of joint venture vet practices have been carefully executed, while performance in the ongoing estate remains strong.

“We have the right foundations in place to accelerate the maturity of our vet practices in a sustainable way, delivering cashflow benefits to both Joint Venture Partners and Pets at Home.

“At this early stage in the year, and with ongoing uncertainty across the wider retail sector, we remain cautiously optimistic and focused on delivering our petcare strategy.”