Pets At Home shares surge amid good profit news

Shares of Wilmslow, Chesire-based pet and vet retailer Pets At Home rose about 14% on Tuesday after it said it expects to return to profit growth a year ahead of its original plan.

Announcing first-half results for the 28 weeks to October 10, 2019, Pets At Home said it expects full-year underlying pretax profit towards the top end of the current market view.

Pets at Home now expects profit at the top end of the company-compiled consensus of between £87 million and £93 million.

First-half underlying pre-tax profit on a comparable basis rose 18.9% to £45 million, with sales at the company’s vet business up 19.6% to £66.5 million.

Pets At Home CEO Peter Pritchard said: “I am very pleased with what we have achieved in the first half of the year. 

“We have executed our plans well, and this has been reflected in the strong customer sales growth across the group.

“Our commitment, and that of the group’s joint venture partners, is to make sure pets and their owners get the very best advice, care and products; and this has led to record levels of VIPs, First Opinion practice clients and subscription customers.

“In short, our pet care strategy is working.

“We have seen sustained momentum in Retail, with a 2-year like-for-like of 13%. 

“This has been complemented by a meticulous delivery of our Vet Group recalibration. 

“The programme to buy out a number of Joint Venture practices is already complete, whilst changes we have made to the fee arrangements for ongoing practices are already showing signs of positive progress and will be followed by further planned adjustments in the second half of the year.

“All this provides a strong foundation, meaning we have much to look forward to in FY20 and beyond, and we now expect to return to profit growth a year ahead of our original plan.”