Pets at Home vet practices face possible closure

Pets at Home. Picture: PETS AT HOME

Pets at Home. Picture: PETS AT HOME - Credit: Archant

Pets at Home has earmarked around 30 vet practices for possible closure as part of an overhaul.

The company has warned over full-year results after the plans sent interim profits tumbling.

Pets at Home is the United Kingdom’s largest pet supplies retailer, with more than 370 stores and 6,000 employees and works with 405 veterinary surgeons who practise from its stores.

Pets at Home operate vet practices from stores in Colchester, Ipswich, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds.

The company also sells products including food, toys, bedding, medication, accessories and pets.

The group’s new chief executive, Peter Pritchard, said he plans to buy out 55 joint venture vet practices from the 471-strong Vet Group chain, with 25 of them becoming company-managed practices and the remainder under review.

Details of the plan came as it reported pre-tax profits crashing 80.5% to £8 million in the six months to October 11 after taking costs of £29 million relating to the vet practice plans.

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On an underlying basis and with this stripped out, half-year pre-tax profits fell 9.3% to £37.9 million.

Mr Pritchard said: “Since becoming the group CEO in May, I have had the opportunity to take stock of the wider group and shape my view of our future.”

He added: “Reviewing our vet group has been a priority. I recognise we have grown at pace and, more recently, have seen the pressure that rising costs and our fees are placing on this young business.

“We will need to recalibrate the business to deliver more measured growth whilst maintaining our plan to generate significant cash profits.”

Interim results showed retail sales rose 4.7% on a like-for-like basis, while Vet Group customer revenues rose 15.4%.

A spokesperson for Pets at Home vet practices, known as Vets4Pets, told the East Anglian Daily Times: “As stated in our half year results announcement this morning, we have undertaken a thorough audit of our Vet Group practices and have identified a number that we are proposing to buy back and run as company owned practices. There are no certain closures planned at this stage, and due to the confidentiality required, we will not publish any lists of practices that we plan to buy back.”