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Pets At Home anticipating extra logistics costs for Northern Ireland stores

Pets At Home has 11 outlets in Northern Ireland.

PETS At Home said it is anticipating an increase in logistics costs for supplying its 11 Northern Ireland outlets.

A boom in pet ownership helped the retailer hit new records in sales, but bosses admitted they are still experiencing difficulties in supply chains.

The company said it is continuing to monitor the potential regulatory implications from the Northern Ireland protocol, specifically around export health certificates.

"We continue to work with the relevant professional bodies to assess the protocols involved in bringing products into Northern Ireland, and our planning for the current year includes an increase in associated logistics costs."

But despite the issues hitting the entire retail sector, pre-tax profits for the six months to October 7 soared 81.3 per cent to £70.6 million.

Revenues were also up 18 per cent to £677.6m, including retail sales jumping 21.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis, online sales up 21.5 per cent on a year ago and revenues from its vet group grew 26.2 per cent like-for-like.

The company said it expects to continue benefiting from the rise in ownership, with profits and sales for the year likely to hit the top end of market expectations.

All areas saw growth, including food revenue up 21.4 per cent to £336.7m and sales of accessories such as dog toys and training devices rose 20.9 per cent to £257.7m.

Pet owners also wanted to show off their new dogs, with revenues at Pets at Home's grooming services up 62.2 per cent. The massive jump was, in part, due to all salons closing for 10 weeks during the pandemic a year ago.

At the vet business, like-for-like revenues rose 26.2 per cent, although overall sales fell 14.7 per cent to £56.8m due to the sale of Pets at Home's vet hospital business.

Outgoing chief executive Peter Pritchard told the PA news agency that he has not yet seen a drop-off in new pet ownership.

"The new number of puppies and kittens is still rising at a similar rate to months earlier, so we are really positive," he said.

The chief added that the company is seeking to limit price rises as much as possible despite rising inflation and invest in its value proposition.

He said the company also benefits from the fact that 80 per cent of its suppliers are UK-based.

Mr Pritchard added: "Our business has never been more robust.

"Our pet care strategy continues to deliver, we continue to take market share and improve spend per customer, and the benefits of our investment in capacity and capability are really starting to deliver.

"Notwithstanding some near-term, industry-wide challenges, we continue to grow ahead of our plans and, based on trading year to date, we are on track to report a record year of sales and profit growth."

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