Pet food seller Jollyes said it will create around 150 new jobs as it opens 20 new shops to deal with increased demand from Britons who bought animals during the pandemic.
The company said that it had seen significant growth over the past two years and was accelerating its plans by opening the new sites within the next 18 months.
It said that some of the new shops would be opened after buying smaller rivals, while others would be brand new.
The retailer, which has 67 shops across the country, saw its revenue shoot up by 21% in the last three months compared to the same quarter two years earlier.
“While remaining open throughout the pandemic to serve pet lovers has not been easy because of the added cost and complexity, our people have more than risen to the challenge, and we’ve enjoyed a very successful year with sensational progress,” said executive chairman Richard Cotter.
“And we’re excited about our future – we’ve worked hard to build a strong platform that will allow us to do much more – new and better stores, wider ranges and further investment in our people as we bring their passion for pets to more communities across the UK.”
Pet ownership has exploded during lockdowns over the last year and a half.
According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, 3.2 million households have got a pet since the pandemic started.
There are now around 12 million cats and 12 million dogs in homes across the UK.
Jollyes said that it had seen a 50% rise in sales of birds such as canaries. Reptile sales had risen 14%, it added.
But people are not just looking after their own animals. There has been a 10% rise in sales of wild bird feed, the company said.
The retailer said it would carefully think through the locations of the new shops that it plans to open.