Belfast Telegraph

Pets at Home to create 450 new jobs as full year sales and profits rise

Pets at Home has outlined plans to create 450 new jobs this year as the firm reported a rise in full year sales and profits.

The retailer said pre-tax profits rose 3.7% to £90.2 million and revenues were up 6.7% to £777.8 million in the year to March, adding that it will open 20 new Pets at Home superstores in the next 12 months. It will also roll out 45 to 55 vet practices and as many as 60 "grooming salons".

Chief executive Ian Kellett hailed the firm's growing veterinary and pet grooming services, which helped like-for-like sales rise 2.1%, and said the pet market is proving more resilient than the general high street.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Kellett said: "We'll create about 450 jobs overall with the addition of the new stores, vets and salons. We want to become the one stop shop for pet owners, who want happy and healthy pets.

"The pet market has proved over time to be more resilient than general retail, so whilst consumer confidence may be more fragile, we believe our drive to become more specialist and most loved by customers will deliver further progress."

He added that the place of pets in the family "hierarchy" and the "humanisation" of pets have been key drivers in the firm's success, and brushed off Brexit fears.

"Whichever way the vote goes, we're ready for any challenge that throws up but we're lucky because through every period, the pet market is always more resilient than general retail," he said.

Pets at Home also raised its final dividend 39%, with the total standing at 7.5 pence.

The firm also warned that it will take a £2 million hit as a result of the national living wage.