Pets at Home sees ‘exceptional demand’ amid coronavirus outbreak

Pets at home

Animal lovers rushed to stock up on products for their pets as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, a leading retailer has said.

Pets at Home said it had seen “exceptional demand” in online and store sales.

The company has been classed by the government as an essential retailer due to its stock of pet food, medicine and hygiene products.

It said existing customers have bought more products per visit while new customers have accessed its pet products and healthcare services.

But chief executive Peter Pritchard warned the retailer will “not be immune” to challenges caused by COVID-19, the disease cause by coronavirus.

It said initial disruption in the Far East stabilised “relatively quickly” and product availability has “held up well” so far.

Pets at Home said current uncertainty means it is unable to provide specific guidance over its trading outlook for the new financial year.

The company said it expects lower customer revenues across its veterinary practices as a result of the pandemic.

It said that this, combined with the potential for lower store revenues due to social distancing and other measures, is expected to have a “negative impact” on group turnover for the year.

Mr Pritchard said: “I am extremely grateful that our colleagues and operations have shown such resilience and flexibility to meet the recent exceptional level of demand from both existing and new customers.

“As ever, in difficult times consumers turn to trusted brands and advice, and that is why we are working tirelessly to ensure that we continue to provide essential products and healthcare services for the UK’s pets.

“We continue to take all appropriate action in line with government advice and remain vigilant to the potential impact of COVID-19 as we start the new financial year.”