The growth in pet ownership during the Covid pandemic has continued with retailer Pets at Home forecasting record sales and profits.
The company said it had a record Christmas, with strong growth in sales across its 445 UK stores and its 300 vet and grooming outlets.
Sales in the third quarter, it said, were up 8.7% on 2020 and 28.1% on 2019.
Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home’s group chief executive, said despite the rise in the cost of living, people were unlikely to cut back on pet spending.
“I think history actually tells us one of the very last things customers do is cut back on their pets, they are much more likely to cut back on a holiday or a big discretionary purchase,” he said.
“Pets are very much part of the family. We expect given the fact there are more pets in the country than ever before we expect revenue to be and continue to be very strong this year.”
In its trading statement, Pets at Home said it was experiencing “a number of inflationary pressures” across its supply chain, and planned to mitigate them by seeking rent reductions at its shops and “operational efficiencies” across its business.
“We want to keep pet ownership really affordable for our customers,” Mr Pritchard added.
He said the firm was on track to report “a record year of sales and profit growth”, adding the company had served more pet owners than ever before in the 12-week period from October 8 to December 30 2021.
He said: “In the month of December alone we actually also groomed 90,000 dogs, 5,500 dogs on Christmas Eve alone, so it was a very busy Christmas for us.”