Last month, in the face of the coronavirus, Pets at Home reported glowing results making it the best-performing UK retail stock of the quarter. The pet shop and veterinary services provider said it expected full-year underlying profits to be ahead of current market expectations.
Pets at Home said that while strong merchandising sales had helped to offset the closure of grooming salons and lower vet service revenue during lockdown, there were “tangible signs of an increase in animal owners as people adopted new attitudes to work and leisure pursuits” after lockdown.
New YouGov data this week backs this up. It shows that more than a quarter (27%) of Britons had either acquired a new pet during lockdown or knew someone who had. The number of new pet owners were highest in Scotland (36%) followed by Londoners (31%). More people owning domestic animals is naturally a positive thing for a pet retailer and veterinary services provider.
Since the start of lockdown in March, YouGov Plan & Track data shows that Pets at Home’s Consideration score increased among Britons who own a dog, cat or small animal such as a rabbit, hamster or guinea pig. The score – which measures whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future – rose by 7.1 points from 38.0 at the start of March to 45.1 in May. Since then scores have remained steady, reaching 45.4 in September.
Compared to the same period last year, its Consideration score look a lot different. In 2019 the data shows a pattern of three clear peaks in June, August and September, but dipping to the low 30s in-between. Consideration of Pets at Home among animal owners this year has been much more level and sustained, contributing to the brand’s good performance this year.
In general, Pets at Home’s brand health improved over lockdown. Its Index score – which is a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend, and Reputation – increased from 19.4 in March to 22.8 in May. If it can continue to provide the services and products its growing customer base desire for their animals, Pets at Home will have a strong foundation to survive and do well in any future lockdown scenario.