Pets at Home reveals expansion plan as profits rise

Pets at Home has announced expansion plans.

Pets at Home has announced expansion plans. - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHI

Pets at Home announced plans for expansion including a new high-street dog spa as it posted a rise in profits today.

The chain, which runs 400 pets stores and 338 vets’ practices, said it will open five stores called Barkers, which will offer premium products and grooming services for dogs.

Pets at Home said it will boost the rest of its estate by opening at least 20 to 25 other pet stores, 50 to 55 vets and 55 to 60 grooming rooms that offer baths and blow dries for pets.

Overall the group said underlying earnings jumped 9.6% to £121.3 million in the year to March 26, as its nutrition, grooming and click and collect services all grew.

It added that its VIP Club loyalty card leapt by 1.2million members to 3.2m during the period, representing more than 10.5m pets.

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The chain said VIP Club card swipes accounted for 65% of sales at stores in the final quarter of the year, compared with 52% in the same period 12 months ago.

It said it would launch an app for VIP Club members this year which would allow them to take better advantage of promotions and offers.

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The group added that sales of its own-label pet food business Wainwright’s, which sells a lamb and rice dish for dogs, jumped 44.1% to £40.1m during the period. During the year it added 25 pets stores, 61 vets and 50 groom rooms.

Chief executive Nick Wood said the group had seen “excellent growth in pet services as we roll-out new vet practices and groom rooms and the existing estate continues to mature”.

The firm’s full-year pre-tax profits jumped almost three times to £87m, largely benefiting from fewer financing costs, compared with a year ago.

The business said trading in the first quarter of the year is in line with expectations, and it was confident about prospects over the coming 12 months.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said: “Demand for advanced nutritional pet foods proved key for store merchandise sales, whilst joint venture veterinary practice fees contributed strongly towards the group’s Service revenues.

“Furthermore, an emphasis on expanding its VIP Club loyalty scheme has also played its part, while the group’s online offering remains a management focus.”

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