Pets at Home shares are 11% up as they post a surprising increase in annual results of 6.1% to £89.7 million for the year to 28th March 2019. Retail like-for-like sales rose 5.1%, with group-wide comparable store sales up 5.7%. However, statutory pre-tax profits fell 37.7% to £49.6 million due to its vet practice restructuring which cost £40.1 million due to the purchase of 48 of its 55 joint venture vet practices from the vet group chain, of which 19 have closed. The group is expecting to close around 35 of these stores in total that will contribute to lower underlying profits in the new financial year, but also expects to return to profit growth in 2020-21, with plans to open up to another five new outlets, further grooming salons and vet practices in the next 12 months.
“Shares up at Pets at Home despite challenges“
CEO Peter Pritchard said: “I’m pleased with our progress and the results we have delivered, but there remains plenty to do. I’m confident we will successfully reposition our vet group so that, with the strong performance in retail, we will be well-placed to deliver our strategy.”