Pets at Home has reported soaring annual revenues after the pandemic saw a pet “baby boom”, and the retailer said it intends to share that success with employees.
Group revenues jumped by 7.9% to a record £1.14 billion for the year to March 25 - the first time the FTSE 250 company has broken £1 billion in retail revenues in its 30-year history.
As an "essential" retailer, Pets has been able to keep its 451 branches open in recent lockdowns. Group underlying profits were £87.5 million in the year, ahead of guidance but down 6.4% year-on-year after the company was weighed down by £30 million in "Covid-related revenue restrictions and costs", and repaid £28.9 million of business rates relief to the Treasury.
The firm, which issued a final dividend per share of 5.5p, also revealed staff will share a £15.8 million bonus for their "exceptional efforts" during the pandemic.
Pets at Home chief executive Peter Pritchard told the Standard: "I think you can't just focus on shareholders, you've got to focus on all your stakeholders."
Pritchard said the firm is seeing growth “right across the country” and that bosses now see “the opportunity for a further £600 million of customer revenues over the medium term".
They plan to invest around £70 million over the current financial year, putting cash into a store transformation programme, digital growth and a new national distribution site.
This includes the roll out of 20 new sites within the M25 to cater to the capital's new pet owners.
Pritchard said: "A dog is for life. We have previously described this as a bit like a baby boom. The number of pets in the country has increased, and therefore the addressable market has increased.
"We're focused now on growing our entire pet ecosystem... We want to get the customer everything they need easily and conveniently under one roof."
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst, Susannah Streeter, said: "There is a risk that the jaws of the pet boom, could clamp shut as more people return to the world of work once more and put off the purchase of a furry friend. But Pets At Home is geared up to supply new pandemic owners with a lifetime of goods and services and has a growing set of data of customers it’s able to draw on to expand its business."
The company has seen its share price double in the past year. Analysts at Numis today gave the firm a target price of 560p.