News Column

Investors pat Pets at Home after sales rise

July 31, 2014

KASMIRA JEFFORD



SHARES in Pets at Home leapt seven per cent yesterday after the newly-listed group won over unconvinced in-vestors and delivered strong first quarter sales.


The company, which provides pet food, accessories and veterinary services across more than 380 outlets, has seen a sharp decline in its share price since floating in March.


It is one of several market debutantes including Saga and Card Factory that are still underwater after the initial IPO frenzy was replaced by lacklustre demand. Shares rose to 182p but are still well below their 245p offer price.


Analyst Nick Bubb said the update was unexpected and "no doubt partly timed to respond to the recent alarming weakness in its share price". But Pets shrugged off concerns yesterday and said like-for-like sales rose by a healthy 4.1 per cent in the 16 weeks to 17 July, thanks to its highmargin advanced nutrition and health and hygiene products and growth across its veterinary practices and groom rooms.


Total sales jumped 10.4 per cent to 210.8m as it opened 10 new stores, 16 vet practices and 19 grooming salons.


"Overall, first quarter delivery provides us with comfort around our current full year expectations," Nomura analysts said.


Another 400,000 members signed up to its VIP club for pampered pooches, taking it to 2.4m, up from 2m at the start of the year.


Pets at Home Group Plc p 182.00 30 Jul 187.5 185.0 182.5 180.0 177.5 175.0 172.5 170.0 29 Jul 30Jul 24Jul 25Jul 28 Jul


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Source: City A.M. (UK)


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