Pets at Home shares surge on back of resilient results

Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home

Shares in Cheshire pet care group Pets at Home surged this morning after the retailer reported a 65.3% rise in annual underlying pre-tax profits to £144.7m.

Capitalising on the pet ownership boom, shares in the Handforth business were trading at 310p, up by more than 10%, to top the FTSE 250.

Total revenue grew by 15.3% to almost £1.32bn in the year to March 2022, up 15.3% on the previous year, or 15.8% on a like-for-like basis, while its retail division generated like-for-like growth of 15.8% and its vet division 17.1%.

Pets at Home also announced it would be raising its final dividend by 36% to 7.5p while also revealing plans to launch a £50m share buyback.

Looking ahead, the company said it was confident that 2023 underlying pre-tax profits would be in line with analyst consensus, which is currently £151m, with a range of £146m to £157m.

The strong results come just before a senior boss at Sky is due to take the helm.

Lyssa McGowan will succeed current CEO Peter Pritchard, who announced last November he was stepping down this summer after 11 years.

McGowan, the outgoing chief consumer officer at Sky UK, will take up her post on June 1.

Pritchard said: “Despite another period characterised by significant and evolving external challenges, our performance this year has been noteworthy, delivering record sales, profit, and cash flow. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to our truly inspiring colleagues and Partners across the froup for their continued adaptability and commitment to making Pets at Home bigger, stronger, and more efficient.

“We are well placed to accelerate our growth in market share. The robust backdrop of the UK pet care market, coupled with our clear strategic priorities, proven omnichannel model and strong executive team, mean that I hand over leadership of this great business to Lyssa McGowan with the utmost confidence that Pets at Home will continue to create value for all stakeholders in both the near and longer-term.”