Friday 26 February 2021 8:40 am

Puppy love: Pets at Home hikes profit forecast as Brits splash out on furry friends

Pets at Home has scrubbed up its profit expectations for the full year after continued demand for its animal offerings helped boost trading.

The reptile and rabbit retailer said it now expected pre-tax profit for 2020 to hit £85m — ahead of its previous guidance of £77m. This includes a £28.9m repayment of business rates relief.

Read more: Pets at Home sales surge as animal ownership soars

Pets at Home has been one of the big winners of the pandemic, as pet ownership has grown sharply during lockdown and Brits have splashed out more on pet paraphernalia.

The London-listed firm had warned on uncertainty in the New Year due to continued Covid restrictions and potential supply disruption following the UK’s departure from the EU.

But it said trading over the last eight weeks had come in ahead of expectations, with continued growth across all channels and categories.

Shares ticked up almost two per cent in morning trading.

“The rapid improvement is evidence of just how strong recent trading has been, and the effect rolling lockdowns are having — both on pet ownership and our willingness to splash out on our furry friends,” said Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“There is always a risk of course that newly acquired pets fall out of favour once lockdown comes to an end, but for now pet retail is in the jaws of a boom.”

In an update earlier this year Pets at Home revealed booming demand for its pet care services as a result of the pandemic.

Read more: Not just for Christmas: Pets at Home raises profit outlook after December growth

The company’s Puppy and Kitten Club members grew by almost 50 per cent, typically spending a further 25 per cent more than non-members.

New clients across Pets at Home’s veterinary practices averaged 10,000 per week over the second half of 2020, while subscriptions rose to over 1m.