Pets at Home achieved sales of over £ 1billion for the first time as the number of people in the UK with pets increased during periods of lockdown.
The retailer and the vet chain estimated that the number of pets increased by 8% in a year in which many people were stuck at home. The boom has led to pet food shortages.
The pandemic “has structurally altered the dynamics of the UK pet care market,” the company said, with the increase in work from home removing a barrier to pet ownership and increasing emotional attachment and willingness to spend on animals.
Pets at Home revenue rose 7.9% to £ 1.1 billion in the fiscal year ended March 25, which coincided almost exactly with the start of lockdowns in the UK. It was a record in the 30-year history of the company.
He said there had been a “baby boom” for pets. Sales of products for kittens and puppies increased by 37% and 26% respectively, with training products and heated puppy beds in particular demand. Sales of even less cuddly fish tanks have increased.
Profits reached £ 116million despite the £ 30million in costs related to Covid-19, although underlying profits remained stable once the £ 30million sale of five animal hospitals in company has been taken into account.
Pets at Home said he expected the changes to last, adding that it could boost sales by an additional £ 600million due to the increase in the number of owners and people spending more on their animals.
This includes what he called the “humanization” of pets pampered by owners who were willing to spend more. Pets at Home cited the growth of more expensive food and luxury items like dog wading pools and pet fashions, with dog coat sales up 24%.
Peter Pritchard, CEO of Pets at Home, said: “We ended this unprecedented year with a much stronger pet care business. Despite the challenges of how we have been able to do business, we have increased our market share across all channels and our underlying growth trajectory has accelerated. Covid-19 has structurally changed the dynamics of the pet care market. “
He added that the company will continue to spend on infrastructure, the digitization of the business and the use of its customer data to target future growth.