Pets at Home said retail sales grew 8.1% to £277.4 million, for the 16 weeks to July 19. On a like-for-like basis, retail sales grew 5.3% in the period.
Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home’s group chief executive, said that the chain’s retail price position continued to strengthen, with the overall price gap to online retailers halving in the past 18 months.
He said: “I am really pleased with our start to the year, particularly as trading across both retail and the vet business has been consistently strong. There are so many initiatives that are working: great promotions and more lower prices, capitalising on the hot weather with our biggest ever summer and cooling product range, the launch of our easy repeat online delivery service, and an excellent ‘Best Start in Life’ puppy healthplan campaign in vet practices.
“We are also bringing our offer together more effectively with the launch of the VIP puppy club online and on our App, which introduces customers to both sides of our business.”
Mr Pritchard added: “We have made great progress with these initiatives, particularly the ongoing momentum in retail more than a year on from the start of our price repositioning programme. But I believe we need a sharpening of focus to become a business that will continue to win over the long term, where it is essential that we maximise our assets and data as an integrated pet care business and reinvigorating the customer experience in-store becomes key.
“We know one of the biggest opportunities in our business is to accelerate the maturity and returns of our vet practices. We therefore need to address the challenges, such as the shortage of veterinary practitioners and the associated cost and cashflow support that is required. At the same time, there will always be a need to keep our retail pricing competitive.”