Pets at Home has bought equestrian etailer Ride-Away. The deal is expected to bolster its specialist credentials and complement its strong pet offer. Retail Week speaks to chief executive Nick Wood about his growth plans for the online business.

Retail Week: Why did you decide to acquire the business?

Nick Wood: Equestrian product is an area that is weak for us. There is a big opportunity in the market which is very fragmented and there is no one big player at the moment.

Also, Ride-Away complements our multichannel strategy and initially it will be about turning a family business into a non family-run business and using our marketing skills to promote the site and its proposition.

Ride-Away has a lot of similar values to us and it’s a good opportunity for us. 72% of horse owners own a dog and many of our customers are horse riders. It is a natural product category fit for us and we’re very excited about it.

How much did you buy it for?

We’re not disclosing what we bought the business for.

Will you keep the brand name?

The brand will remain as Ride-Away because it is an equine specialist, Pets at Home is not.

It is very difficult to be an equestrian specialist because you need a lot of space to sell the products, which is what is so good about online.

Ride-Away is in a very strong multichannel position with its online business, catalogue and store. The company is very strong around York and the customer base is very focused and strong in Yorkshire, so there is an opportunity to take the brand and proposition to customers across the UK.

What are your plans for the business?

We will be focused initially on the catalogue. It will be about using our marketing nous and store portfolio to help grow awareness.

Will you open more stores?

We are open-minded on that. We need to get to know the business and how it operates against our stores and multichannel proposition.

We are open-minded about putting products in stores. It will be about promoting our proposition. We are determined it is an important part of our growth.

Are you looking to grow Pets at Home with more acquisitions?

No comment.