Specialist retailer Pets at Home benefited from a significant expansion in the pet population during lockdown – a supportive trend it capitalised on well.
Despite competition from non-specialist rivals like supermarkets, Pets at Home used its ‘everything under one roof’ offering, including veterinary and grooming services, to secure a strong market position.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “Pets at Home was also quite clever with its customer loyalty schemes – which came with relatively little cost attached but helped to drive repeat business.
“However, just like all retailers now, Pets at Home is exposed to rising costs and a customer base whose budgets are increasingly squeezed. Those pressures are reflected in a first half fall in profit.
“Britons may prioritise their pets when it comes to spending, but when they go into a Pets at Home store, they might just be buying the basics these days rather than extras like a new dog toy.
“All in all, it’s not the best start for new CEO Lyssa McGowan who had a hard act to follow. Her predecessor Peter Pritchard helped to lay the foundations for the company’s recent success.
“Investors will be hoping she can use her consumer-facing experience at pay-TV broadcaster Sky to better understand and serve its customer base during what is likely to be a tricky period.”