Friday 31 July 2020 8:30 am

Pets at Home shares rise on jump in pet ownership

Shares in Pets at Home jumped this morning after the retail chain reported a surge in demand for pet ownership after the coronavirus lockdown.

Pets at Home said there were “tangible signs” of an increase in animal owners “as people adopt new attitudes to work and leisure pursuits” following the lockdown.

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

A jump in pet ownership is a “good proxy for longer term growth in the market,” it said. 

The retail and veterinary chain’s share price was up 7.8 per cent at 279.4p this morning. 

In the 16 weeks to 16 July total group revenue and like-for-like revenue was down one per cent and 0.7 per cent in the period respectively. 

Like-for-like revenue fell 13.5 per cent over the first eight weeks of the period – during lockdown- largely offset by 12 per cent growth in the last eight weeks. 

Retail revenue and like-for-like revenue both increased 0.4 per cent during the period, with strong merchandising sales offsetting the impact of the closure of grooming salons and a drop in pet sales in the first eight weeks.

Vet group revenue dropped 10.9 per cent, reflecting the impact of restrictions on procedures at the beginning of the pandemic. 

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

In an update this morning Pets at Home said: “Increasing pet ownership helps drive the growth of our business and the market overall, but the uncertainties over the duration and ongoing impact of social distancing restrictions in the UK, risk of a second lockdown, as well as macro headwinds are all factors that mean we need to remain focused and agile over the coming months. 

“We also recognise that costs relating directly to the impact of the pandemic will remain elevated, and that the current year’s business rates relief will not mitigate the estimated financial impact of Covid-19.”