Pet owners willing to splash out even more, says top vet business

One of the largest vet operators in the UK has said customers are increasingly willing to spend money on their pets and will continue to do so even if there is an economic downturn.

CVS, which runs 500 veterinary practices in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, made the claim as bosses revealed a 24.2% jump in revenues to £406.5 million for the year to June 30.

Pretax profits fell 17% to £11.7 million due to various expansion costs.

The company also said that there remains a major shortage of vets in the UK, with vacancy rates at CVS peaking at 12.5% last year.

Bosses said they hope the situation will improve, adding: “We are pleased that the Home Office has accepted the Migration Advisory Committee’s proposal to reinstate the veterinary surgeon on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List and this should in time improve the supply of overseas vets in the UK.”

Revenues were strong in the second half of the year, the company said, putting behind a profit warning from the first half.

CVS added that growth has come from referrals to different parts of the business. The division saw a 21.6% jump in revenues to £22.5 million.

It said: “This naturally results in advanced clinical procedures, better outcomes for our patients and a resulting increase in average transaction values.”

The firm’s Healthy Pet Club has also seen a boost in members by 10.8% in the year to 401,000, and a new Healthy Horse Programme has 7,000 members.

Bosses also want to invest further into labs and crematorium facilities, including installing an equine cremator in its Runcorn, Cheshire pet funeral business.

On Brexit, the company said it is confident business will remain strong, regardless of the outcome.

It said: “CVS operates in a sector with favourable market and consumer trends, with pet owners increasingly willing to spend money on their pets, and medical enhancements increasing the range of services we can offer.”

CVS also insisted that there should be enough drugs if border problems emerge.

It said: “Pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers are increasing their stock levels in order to reduce the risk of supply shortages, and following the acquisition of (online drug business) Vet Direct, CVS now controls more of its equipment and consumables supplies.

“The pace of growth in the UK economy may be impacted by Brexit uncertainty, but the veterinary sector has proven to be resilient in past periods of economic downturn.”

Read Full Story