Veterinary and grooming services lift sales at Pets at Home

Pets at Home’s move into services is paying off as the retailer recorded a 45 per cent rise in veterinary and grooming turnover last year, while merchandise sales slowed.

The company said like-for-like sales of services rose 7.9 per cent in the year to March 30, as its grooming salons and vet clinics expanded their customer base. The proportion of the group’s stores offering the services rose from 42 to 54 per cent. The company is aiming for 90 per cent, as it continues its expansion beyond selling products such as pet food.

“What we are trying to do is to ensure that we can deliver something unique within four walls — a combination of services and an extensive range of products,” said chief executive Ian Kellett.

He said it could take a decade for a vet clinic to reach full profitability since it took time to build up the number of customers. The clinics have been established as joint ventures with vets and it hopes to increase the number of centres specialising in more complex services, such as MRI scans or cancer treatments for animals, from four to between 10 and 15.

Like-for-like sales of merchandise fell to 0.8 per cent because of “an overall slower performance in the business” and as space was reallocated to services.

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