Pets at Home upbeat despite profit fall
In the year to 29 March, merchandise and services like-for-like sales rose by 5% and 8.5% respectively.
However, group underlying pre-tax profit declined by 12.3% to £84.5 million while statutory pre-tax profit was down 16.6% to £79.6 million. Pets at Home said its profitability had been impacted by a £13 million price investment in its merchandise offering and a £5 million increase in the provision held for practice loans in its veterinary business
Peter Pritchard, the company’s new chief executive, said: "Year one of our three-year strategy has delivered, and as a business we are on a stronger competitive footing to return to sustainable profit growth. But the job isn't done yet. As our new CEO, my plan has a bigger focus on digital, tapping into the vast potential of our customer and pet data, and taking action to ensure our vet business reaches its potential.”
During the year Pets at Home opened 13 superstores, 25 vet practices and 27 grooming salons. It also closed seven Barkers stores.
Looking ahead Pritchard added: “FY19 will be the second of our three year financial transition back to sustainable profit growth, and following our progress in FY18, we are determined to achieve our plan. In the coming financial year, we are targeting like-for-like revenue growth ahead of the market in both retail and our vet group, and a transition back to low single digit underlying group profit growth.”
Pets at Home has also announced that its non-executive director Tessa Green will step down from the board at the company's AGM on 12 July. She will be replaced by Susan Dawson who has been the professor and dean of the Institute of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool for the last seven years.
Tony DeNunzio, chairman of Pets at Home, said: "I would like to thank Tessa for her excellent contribution over the last four years and wish her every success in the future. We are delighted to welcome Susan to the board; she brings very strong veterinary experience to the role and is an expert on the training and wellbeing of vets, which will be hugely valuable as we continue to develop this area of the business."
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