Pets at Home has raised its profit targets for the third time since September after it said the recent boom in pet ownership continued through the end of 2020.
Shares in the retailer jumped after it told investors its sales momentum “accelerated” across all its operations in the quarter to December 31.
It hailed a particularly strong December, with like-for-like group sales growth in the “high teens” during the month.
The pet care business has said it now expects to deliver at least £77 million in underlying pre-tax profits for the full-year to March.
It expects to deliver this despite announcing plans to hand back £28.9 million in business rates relief last month.
Pets at Home said it delivered strong sales in the first half of the financial year across its retail and veterinary arms, despite the “extremely challenging external environment”.
In a statement, the company added: “While renewed Covid-related restrictions on a national level may constrain trade, we remain an ‘essential’ retailer and the measures we continue to take across our stores, veterinary practices and online operations are ensuring we remain in a strong position to meet all of our customers’ pet care needs.”
The FTSE 250 business said it has also strengthened its balance sheet through an initial £80 million in proceeds from the sale of five specialist vet practices in December.
Shares in Pets at Home moved 7.7% higher to 449.6p in early trading on Friday.