Pets at Home to post jump in sales after pandemic pet ownership boom

Pets at Home is set to reveal a surge in sales over the past six months after the pandemic helped to drive a boom in pet ownership.

Investors will be hopeful that the pet shop chain will reveal strong continued demand in recent months after England entered its second nation lockdown.

The company will unveil its latest figures for the half-year to September in an update to shareholders on Tuesday November 24.

In its most recent update to investors in September, the company said trading was ahead of expectations, with a 12% jump in like-for-like sales over the first eight weeks of the second quarter.

Pets at Home had seen sales dip at the start of the current financial years after the pandemic hit footfall, despite being allowed to keep its stores trading.

It added that it expects to record a profit of “around £73 million” for the current full-year despite significant costs related to the pandemic and digital investment.

The introduction of social distancing measures in its stores and warehouses are also expected to weigh on profit margins.

Susannah Street, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “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.

“With online orders already very strong, the company has also ramped up its digital offering with a one-hour turnaround for click and collect orders.

“This will require investment but should help sales growth in the longer term.”

Analysts at Berenberg said that lockdowns have helped to accelerate a trend of Pets at Home taking market share from grocers, as pet-owners ventured to its stores to stock up rather than adding pet items to their regular shop.

It said that although pet ownership levels increased following the pandemic, the trend had been steadily improving prior to Covid-19’s spread in March.

The added: “A raft of management improvements has intersected perfectly with a boom in demand for pets, and we think the outstanding momentum in the business can continue to drive earnings upgrades for some time.”