While many retailers suffered a dog of a Christmas, heavy spending on presents for pets delivered a seasonal sales surge for specialist Pets at Home.

The private equity backed store group generated like-for-like growth of 8.3 per cent in the six weeks to January 10, as shoppers snapped up festive goodies for animals.

Pets at Home, which last year drafted in City advisers ahead of a potential sale or float, sold 286,000 Christmas stockings for pets and 13,000 festive outfits for dogs.

Chief executive Matt Davies said consumer anxiety and the credit crunch had not dissuaded spending on pets. He said: “Pets occupy a very high position in the household. An awful lot has to go wrong before a pet doesn’t get a gift at Christmas.”

Davies expected strong trading to continue in the year ahead and said Pets At Home was also protected from the consumer slowdown by its low transaction value – an average basket has a value of less than£20.

In the financial year to date, Pets at Home’s comparable store sales have risen 7.4 per cent and total sales climbed 15.4 per cent.

Last year, the 211-store retailer, backed by Bridgepoint, posted EBITDA of£46.7 million on turnover of£306.5 million. The business could be valued at£600 million if it changes hands.

Davies did not expect a decision about a sale or float for at least six months. “We’re right at the start of the process,” he said. “We have consistently traded very strongly, so Christmas won’t influence things one way or the other. There’s been a tailing off of ratings for retailers and that’s something that will flow into the process.”