Pets At Home hails £256.5m sales in positive start to 2017

Early in the year but the firm says trade is in line with expectations
Early in the year but the firm says trade is in line with expectations

Shares in Pets At Home rose sharply on Tuesday after the company saw revenues pick up in its first quarter.

The FTSE-250 firm said sales were up 5% to £256.5m in the 16 weeks to July 20, underpinned by solid growth in both its merchandise and veterinary services divisions.

Merchandise sales increased by 2.8%, while in its smaller services division, which includes its vet practices, revenue rocketed by 18.8% to £40.1m.

On a like-for-like basis, total sales rose 2.7%, with merchandise increasing 1.5% and services chalking up 10.5% growth.

The pet shop chain, which operates from 439 stores across the UK, said its financial outlook for the year was “in line” with expectations.

It opened five new superstores, two vet practices and six grooming salons in the period, and said it was on track to open a total of 10 superstores, 40-50 vet practices and 40-50 grooming salons during the current financial year. Shares rose almost 8% to 185.7p in morning trading.

Boss Ian Kellett said it had been a “positive” start to 2017.

“Whilst it is still early in the year, the financial outlook is in line with our expectations,” he added.

The company cut prices for some of its products earlier this year in an attempt to shore up top-line growth, a move which it said is proving successful.

“We have continued our everyday lower price repositioning and reduced the reliance on short-term promotional discounts.

“We remain encouraged by the overall response to our pricing changes and by the number of both new customers and those we have welcomed back.”