Pets at Home top dog at Christmas after grooming boost

Retailer Pets at Home has thanked the rising trend for well-groomed dogs for helping it notch up a record Christmas as sales surged higher.

The group said it groomed 80,000 dogs in its third quarter – with a record 6,023 in a single day and 27,555 in the week before Christmas as owners wanted to get their pooches ready for festive family photos.

This helped Pets at Home post a 7% hike in like-for-like retail revenues over the 12 weeks to January 2.

Comparable sales across its veterinary practices lifted 8.9%, helping wider group like-for-like revenues to lift 7.2% in its 12th straight quarter of rising revenues.

Chief executive Peter Pritchard said the grooming trend “tells us everything about the role a dog or cat plays in our family and people want their dogs to look good for Christmas too”.

He added that while the numbers of dogs kept as pets has largely remained the same in the UK, breeds that need a lot of grooming have become more popular, such as “anything with an ‘oodle’ in the name or a Shih Tzu”.

The group saw the biggest trading day in its history on December 23 across its stores and website.

Shares lifted 2% after the update.

Mr Pritchard said: “Against a backdrop of unprecedented consumer volatility, our continued momentum leaves us very much on track with our plans for the year.”

The figures show Pets at Home delivered an impressive online performance, with web sales jumping 23.4% in the quarter.

The group is also growing its subscription customer base – now more than 850,000 – as it looks to branch out from being a retailer to offering services such as grooming, flea treatment and veterinary care, and wants this side of the business to eventually account for 50% of revenues.