Ideal Shopping Direct is launching a pets accessories website for pet owners, marking its entry into the pets market.

Following the success of specialist Pets At Home and the strong performance of other niche offers that Ideal has been testing, the TV and home shopping group believes the category will be a good extension to its offer.

Chris Palmer-Smith, a former senior buyer at Pets At Home, has been brought into Ideal as managing director of the newly created pets division.

The site, will launch in August and product will also be sold on Ideal’s TV programmes.

This week, Ideal Shopping Direct revealed it had a strong start to the year. Group sales, excluding recent acquisitions, rose 10.5% in the 21 weeks to May 30.

Ideal bought in January and said gardening sales are up 50% year on year.

The retailer believes that specialist offers will continue to help it increase sales.

Ideal chief executive Mike Hancox said: “The growth of niche categories in 2010 is helping to expand the growth of Ideal.

“We’re very pleased with the results and excited about the new business ventures.

“Above all, we want to add value and offer something the customer cannot buy anywhere else.”