Thursday 21 May 2020 9:58 am

Pets at Home revenue tops £1bn but retailer warns on profit as stockpiling dwindles

Pets at Home full-year revenue topped £1bn for the first time in the year to March but the retailer’s share price fell as it warned that a drop in stockpiling demand could impact future profit.

The pet shop chain said it expects first-half pre-tax profit to be sharply lower than last year, as the spike in demand reported at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis has waned.

Read more: Coronavirus: Pets at Home to beat profit expectations after surge in demand

The company’s share price fell more than 10 per cent this morning to 205.33p. 

Group revenue jumped 10.2 per cent to £1.06bn in the year ended 26 March as surging demand during the coronavirus pandemic saw sales top £1bn for the first time ever.

Meanwhile underlying profit before tax increased 11 per cent to £99.5m. 

However Pets at Home said today that trading had been weaker in the first quarter as demand fell and it stepped up social distancing measures.

“Nearly all of the exceptional demand witnessed in the closing weeks of the fourth quarter has unwound during the first quarter of the current year which, combined with our adherence to guidelines on social distancing across our operations and restrictions on the sale of pet products and health care services deemed non-essential, has temporarily depressed normal levels of group turnover,” it said in a statement this morning. 

“Specialist retailer Pets at Home won’t be earning a pat on the head for its full year results with a profit warning for the current financial year that is about as welcome as the latest ‘present’ your cat left on the doorstep,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. 

Read more: Pets at Home appoints new chairman

“Results to March may have beaten expectations but disappointingly an initial spike in sales at the start of lockdown has fallen away.

“Like its supermarket peers it is facing increasing costs as a result of coronavirus as well as an impact as social distancing measures are introduced.”