Retail giant cashes in on surge in pet ownership during lockdown

Retail chain Pets at Home is poised to report strong results this week after pet ownership soared during the pandemic.

Pets at Homes, which has some 450 stores, is due to report its half-year results.

However, investors will be looking for any possible impact on margins from physical distancing measures in its stores and warehouses.

In September, the group said it expected to surpass its profit targets for the year as surging sales momentum continued over the past two months.

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The retailer told investors it had seen double-digit like-for-like customer sales growth over the eight weeks to September 10. The firm, which has some 450 stores and is due to report its half-year results tomorrow, reported strong momentum earlier in the pandemic as people stockpiled products for their pets. Liquidity remains “strong”, it added.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Pet ownership has soared during the pandemic as people have been confined to their homes and have had more time to welcome new additions to the household.

“From dogs and cats, to rabbits and rodents, domestic animals have been in demand and that trend has been very profitable for Pets At Home.

“It’s not just survived but thrived during the Covid-19 crisis as new owners also lapped up the essential items to keep their pets fed, watered, healthy and entertained. Its performance has been helped by the fact it was classed as an essential retailer and was able to avoid lockdowns.

“However, social distancing measures in store and its warehouses may have eaten into margins slightly,” she added.

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