Pets at Home (PETS.L) saw revenue growth of 18% in the 12 weeks to the end of December 2020, with sales rising to £302m ($413.7m).
Retail revenue increased by 17.5%, despite coronavirus-related restrictions being introduced both locally and nationally across the UK during the period.
The firm benefited from its designation as an “essential” retailer as its stores were able to remain open during lockdown restrictions, with in-store like-for-like sales growing by 12.3% “notwithstanding a second national lockdown in England across four weeks of the quarter,” according to the retailer.
“Trading momentum accelerated across the festive period,” according to the pet supplies retailer, as like-for-like sales grew of 17.6%.
The number of pet owners joining the retailer’s VIP Club rose by 12% year-on-year to 6.2 million. This is “especially noteworthy, as it enhances lifetime customer value in what is an already customer-sticky industry,” said Ross Hindle, retail sector analyst at Third Bridge.
The number of Puppy and Kitten Club members grew 47.2% year-on-year, with members typically spending around 25% more than non-members, according to the firm’s latest trading statement.
“Pets at Home is continuing to benefit from a rise in pet ownership during the pandemic and a growing trend of pet food premiumisation. Growth in high margin pet food has flowed through into pet accessories, as consumers look to humanise and spoil their new 4-legged friends,” said Hindle.
The group’s veterinary practices drew in an average of 10,000 new registrations per week over the last six months. Vet Group revenue was up 22.1%, according to the company.
During the quarter, the firm announced that it would voluntarily repay £28.9m of business rates relief received across the business during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Pets at Home said it would maintain guidance on its full-year outlook, anticipating full-year underlying pre-tax profit of at least £77m, including the repayment of business rates relief.
In response to COVID-19 the company introduced contactless collection and delivery of pet products as well as virtual heath care consultations. During this quarter the firm launched a one-hour Click and Collect service across its 451 stores, and a “Deliver to Car” service across more than 150 stores.
"Against a backdrop of continued uncertainty our pet care model remains robust, with our performance during the third quarter testament not only to the advantages of our scalable omnichannel pet care platform and unique joint venture veterinary model, but also the hard work and commitment of all our colleagues across the Group, to whom I express sincere thanks,” said Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home CEO.
“We entered our final quarter facing renewed challenges in the form of higher COVID infection rates and restrictions on a national level, and our priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our colleagues, partners and customers.
“Mindful of this challenging environment, I remain confident that the changes we have made to our business enable us to continue providing essential pet care to our customers in a safe and appropriate manner.”
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