Pets at Home full year profit to be ahead of expectations
Pets at Home has said it anticipates that its full year underlying pre-tax profit will be slightly ahead of expectations following strong trading at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
The company said trading during most of its fourth quarter was in line with expectations, but in the closing weeks of the period there was a surge in sales as customers pulled forward purchases and new customers stocked up on pet products and bought healthcare services.
Despite the sudden uplift, Pets at Home said it was able to meet demand due to its previous investment in its omnichannel capacity, new customer acquisition channels and subscription services. Product availability levels also held up well.
The company said it has introduced a number of protective measures due the coronavirus outbreak. These include removing all but essential travel for staff, the adoption of alternative working arrangements, the introduction of new health and safety procedures for staff and customers, and the provision of health and wellbeing advice and support to employees.
However, the company has closed its Groom Room salons following government advice regarding social distancing, although nearly all of its First Opinion veterinary practices and all of it specialist referral centres have remained open to provide urgent and emergency health care to pets.
Pets at Home said it expects revenues to reduce due to the crisis which will have a negative impact on normal levels of group turnover as it starts its new financial year. Given the uncertain backdrop, the company said it is unable to give financial guidance for the new financial year at this stage.
Peter Pritchard (pictured), Pets at Home chief executive, said: “While FY20 has undoubtedly ended strongly for Pets At Home during this unprecedented time, the period ahead is uncertain for us all, and Pets At Home will not be immune to these challenges that we collectively face.
“I am extremely grateful that our colleagues and operations have shown such resilience and flexibility to meet the recent exceptional level of demand from both existing and new customers. As ever, in difficult times consumers turn to trusted brands and advice, and that is why we are working tirelessly to ensure that we continue to provide essential products and healthcare services for the UK’s pets.”
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