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Pets At Home backs annual profit forecast as sales jump on higher pet care demand

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Pets At Home backs annual profit forecast as sales jump on higher pet care demand 1

(Reuters) – Pets at Home Group backed its annual profit forecast on Thursday after third-quarter sales surged 18%, boosted by higher demand for its accessories and veterinary services as more people adopted pets during lockdowns.

The company, which operates over 453 stores offering pet grooming and other services and has remained open during the latest round of coronavirus-induced lockdown in the UK, said the group’s like-for-like revenue grew 17.6% in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Pets at Home has come out as a pandemic winner, with Britons turning to animal companions while they are stuck at home and lockdown-led stockpiling.

Shares of the London-listed company rose 1.4% to 408.8 pence in early trade.

The company saw an increased momentum across its retail division and the Veterinary Group arm which provides consultation services from veterinarians across its stores. Revenue from the Vet Group jumped 22.1% in the quarter.

“We entered our final quarter facing renewed challenges in the form of higher COVID infection rates and restrictions on a national level…. I remain confident that the changes we have made to our business enable us to continue providing essential pet care to our customers,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Pritchard said.

The company that owns multiple brands, including Vets4Pets and The Groom Room, said revenue rose to 302 million pounds ($413.65 million) for the quarter and reaffirmed its annual underlying pretax profit forecast of 77 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7301 pounds)

(Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan and Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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