Pets At Home brings costs to heel as it drives omnichannel, vet and VIP growth

While consumers are cutting back, their pets aren’t bearing the brunt of it, with Pets At Home reporting total group revenue growth of 7.3% to £727.2m, with the final period of H1 its strongest to date.

The retailer’s omnichannel strategy shows signs of paying off, with revenues growing at an impressive 16.2% and now making up 16.5% of group revenues. Vet Group revenue increased by 12.4%, while customer sales across all General Practices was up 7.1% and Joint Venture fee income up 10.7%.

Profits, however, fell 9.3% to £59.2m through increased freighting and energy costs, alongside a year-on-year increase in investment in digital assets.

The retailer has seen strong growth in sign-ups to its loyalty schemes, with the Puppy and Kitten Club loyalty program averaging 29,000 per week in Q2 – more than three-fold higher than pre-pandemic, and ahead of the FY22 exit rate – while number of active VIPs increased 9% YoY to 7.6m, with those engaging across more than one channel up 10% YoY and representing 27% of VIPs.

New client registrations across the company’s veterinary practices also remained strong, growing to an average of 8,800 per week, increasing Pets At Home’s active client base to 1.7 million. The number of subscription plans across the Group grew 11% YoY to 1.6m, generating over £135m in annualised recurring customer revenue.

Lyssa McGowan, Chief Executive Officer, says: “In my first six months as CEO, I have spent my time forming a deep understanding of the business and sector, learning from the ground up how the business operates. I am more convinced that Pets at Home is well positioned to capitalize on an attractive growth opportunity in our structurally growing pet care market, supported by our unique blend of products and services, deeply embedded culture and expert, passionate colleagues, and partners.”

She adds: “Our first half performance shows progress and resilience across the business. In a challenging macro-environment, the pet care industry remains in growth across all channels, and we have continued to acquire new customers at an impressive rate, setting new records for customer numbers in recent months.” Russell Pointon, Director of Consumer at Edison Group adds: “Despite the cost-of-living crisis, man’s best friend continues to ring true with a post-lockdown record number of UK pet owners continuing to prioritise spending on their pets, which the Group states is “underpinned by the structural trends of humanization and premiumization.” Against a challenging macro-economic climate, CEO Lyssa McGowan, six months in the role, has outlined a strategy to deliver long-term, sustainable growth. Looking ahead, the Group will continue to manage industry-wide cost headwinds and look to deepen its relationship with its VIP customers, while leveraging investment in technology, such as its newly updated app, to drive customer engagement and optimize its local store ranges.”

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