Pets at Home Q1 sales dip but future plans taking shape

Specialist retailer and pet service provider Pets at Home has unveiled plans for a new storage and distribution centre that will form the base of its growing business.

The purpose-built warehouse unit in Stafford will come with offices facilities, and the plan is to move into the site in 2022. Stoford Developments will deliver the scheme.

Pets at Home said consolidating its legacy infrastructure into “a single, modern, well-located and future focused platform” will allow the business to better serve online and in-store customers, more cost effectively, and provide job opportunities for the local area.

The announcement came alongside the retailer’s first-quarter trading update, which showed total group and like-for-like (LFL) revenue dropped by 1% and 0.7% respectively in the three months to 16 July, compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019.

It was tale of two halves within the quarter, as LFL revenue declined by 13.5% in the initial eight weeks but grew by 12% over the subsequent eight weeks, reflecting consumer adjustments to the coronavirus lockdown period.

Over the course of the quarter, omnichannel revenue – defined as orders placed online or in-store using the company’s order-in-store service, as well as subscriptions to monthly flea and worm treatments on its 'Subscribe & Save' platform, grew by 71%.

The retailer also provided an update on several other initiatives, including the near completion of migrating in-house its customer data from retail, vets, and loyalty programme divisions.

It said investment in the IT and eCommerce teams, as well as this data initiative, is giving Pets at Home a chance to gain new insights through customer segmentation, and build towards a single view of customers across each of its channels.

The aim is to use this intelligence to drive targeted promotions, and grow the number of annuity-based subscriptions and plans.

An upgraded click & collect service is also at an advanced stage and, once fully operational, it will utilise a new order management system.

During the pandemic, Pets at Home trialled a ‘Call & Deliver-to-Car’ service and contactless click & collect using parking bays and QR code notifications. There was also an increased use of pet medical advice offered remotely.