Doting pet lovers spoiling their pooches and cats helped Pets at Home deliver a 10.2 per cent jump in sales to £381.5m in the six months to October.
The retailer, which provides pet food, accessories and veterinary services from around 400 outlets, has doubled its profits to £40.5m from £21.3m in the first half of last year thanks to owners spending more on their pets.
The pet care market has grown by almost £1bn in the past five years and is now worth an eye-watering £6bn, according to a recent study conducted by the firm, with grooming and insurance making up half of the market.
“Pet-lovers are treating their pets as they would themselves, whether that’s through an improved diet or treating them to a visit to a groomer,” chief executive Nick Wood said.
During the period, Pets at Home opened 23 Groom Rooms – salons where pets can receive treatments such as a bath and a blow dry – bringing the total portfolio to 152.
Another 600,000 members signed up to its VIP club, a loyalty scheme for pampered pets, taking its members to 2.6m.
These services, together with its growing vet practices and its Advanced Nutrition pet food helped to boost like-for-like sales by 4.2 per cent in the period, the company said.
“We end the first half in a strong financial position, the business remains very cash generative and we are pleased to announce our first dividend payment,” Wood said.
It announced a dividend of 1.8p per share, its first since floating on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year. Shares yesterday edged down last night to 201p.
HOW THE PETS RETAILER IS BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE BY CATERING TO PAMPERED POOCHES
Pets at Home’s 152 groom rooms are a blur of bright green, pink and blue equipped with raised tables, hair dryers, nail clippers, soap buckers and sponges.
Tucked away at the back of the stores, these grooming parlours offer VIP treatments for dogs, from a traditional bath and dry to a £15 pawdicure – a pedicure for dogs that includes a “fragrant spray and a paw pad wax to keep them strutting happy”.
A full groom, which includes a warm bath, hair styling and ear cleaning, can keep pet groomers busy for a good two and a half hours and costs between £20 to £80, depending on the size of the dog.
Pay £8 extra and pets are treated to luxury shampoo, a teeth clean and a “natural breath freshening foam”.
Even cats can come to the parlours and get a lion trim and shave for £67. What’s not to love?