Pet supply retailer Pet Valu to close U.S. operations

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Pet Valu has joined the list of permanently closed retailers during the coronavirus pandemic.The specialty pet food and supplies retailer said on Wednesday it would shut down operations at its headquarters in Pennsylvania and close all of its 358 stores and warehouses across the United States.

The pandemic fueled a boom in companion animals across the United States, as Americans sought companionship on extended stays at home. Animal rescues and ranchers have seen an increase in the number of adoptions of pets and foster parents during the global health crisis. This has led to increased sales for some retailers, including private pet supermarkets Petco and PetSmart, and online pet retailers Chewy. It also inspired new services, such as the addition of curbside pickup at Petco and PetSmart and the launch of the telehealth service by Chewy.

This pet boom wasn’t enough to save Pet Valu, however. With Wednesday’s announcement, it becomes the latest retailer to be pushed to the brink of financial collapse by the global health crisis. A growing list of companies, including JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand, have filed for bankruptcy protection this year. The list includes some businesses that have closed their doors for good, including low-cost Stein Mart, home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports, and Lord & Taylor department store.

Jamie Gould, the recently appointed director of restructuring for Pet Valu, said in a statement that the company’s stores “have been significantly affected by the extended restrictions related to COVID-19.”

“After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to initiate this orderly liquidation,” she said.

The company is owned by the private equity firm Roark Capital Group. Pet Valu Canada, based in Markham, Ontario, is a separate and profitable business that will continue to operate its stores and website.

In the United States, Pet Valu stores will remain open until liquidation is complete, but customers can no longer place orders on the company’s website.

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