Pets at Home boosted by new animal owners splashing out on Christmas treats

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Eats At Home posted comparable sales growth of 22.2% in the first half, helped by a wave of new animal owners who treat everything from spa days to the advent calendar, to Christmas gifts.

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As well as with revenue reaching £677.6 million in the six months to October 7, the FTSE 250 business said it sees a “pathway” to reach £2.3 billion in annual sales in the medium term. Last year it registered £1.4 billion.

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The chain has taken a step into pet ownership during the pandemic, as people spent more time at home during the lockdown.

Membership numbers at the retailer’s Puppy & Kitten Club, which offers advice and discounts on first vet visits, have risen 107% over the past 12 months.

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According to Pets At Home boss Peter Pritchard, owners are already stocking up on treats to give to their four-legged friends during the festive period.

He told the Evening Standard: “It’s going to be the biggest Christmas ever for pets and owners at home.”

He said the chain has sold more than 130,000 dog advent calendars to date, including biscuits and 19,000 Santa hats for pets.

He also added that the bookings ahead for spa days are “looking pretty strong”, where the pooch gets a haircut and a bandana.

The company, which saw a pre-tax profit, increased 77.2% to £70.2 million, declared an interim dividend of 4.3p per share.

Pritchard, 51, who has led the business since 2018, is stepping down in May next year. The search is on for a successor.

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