Belfast Telegraph

Price cuts and vet services see Pets At Home sales rise to £834m

Sales at Pets At Home were boosted by price reductions and the success of its veterinary service last year, as the firm grapples with increased competition.

Pre-tax profits rose 5.8% to £95.4 million in the year to March, off the back of 7.2% growth in sales to £834 million.

Revenues at the group's veterinary arm rocketed 25% to £47 million, with like-for-like sales rising 1.5% across the group.

The firm also said that it has launched price reductions "across a number of everyday pet essentials and are also starting to reposition prices in branded foods".

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Pets At Home has a leading position in a reliable and growing market, and offers pretty much exactly what you would want when tasked with picking up some goodies for your pet; a clean and efficient service.

"Unfortunately, an even more convenient service can be found online, and this market is growing at an accelerating rate."

Shares in Pets rose 2.5% to 164.7p in morning trading.

Late last year, the company warned that trading was softening, but has nevertheless opened 15 new superstores, 50 vet practices and 50 grooming salons over the past 12 months.

Merchandise like-for-like sales rose 0.8%, while services grew 7.9% in the period.

Boss Ian Kellett said: "We have delivered a solid performance over the year with profits in line with expectations.

"In an evolving consumer environment, we are taking steps to reposition prices on own label Advanced Nutrition and pet essentials and have made some initial changes to branded food lines.

"We are confident this is the right path for success and will give us a strong platform for sustainable future growth."