News Column

Pets at Home hopes to win a lot of chums with dog spas

June 15, 2014



Investors may have spent years jealously watching the rapid growth of Pets at Home under its private equity owners, but now that it has come to the public markets, they seem to have lost interest. The stock has been loitering below its launch price, the victim of fears that the specialist retailer doesn't have a healthy enough growth story to make it stand out from the considerable recent crowd of retail IPOs. It may have a website, but it is not part of the fashionable online sector, and its opportunities for opening new large stores are probably more restricted than for the likes of discounters B&M and Poundland.

As it tries to deliver an eye-catching growth story more exciting than a loyalty scheme or enticing types of pet food, Pets at Home has opted for premium dog grooming. It is trialling a "high-end, dog-focused high street format" - effectively a dog spa where pampered pooches can enjoy an aromatherapy bath or luxury "pawdicure" with a shop selling designer accessories and foods.

Can this format ever work beyond its first store in footballers' wives territory Wilmslow? Who knows, but Pets at Home is not the first to try a slightly barking idea to get investors' attention.



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Source: Observer (UK)


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