Pets at Home shares dip as sales miss expectations

Shares in pet supplies retailer Pets at Home (LSE: PETS) dipped 2.6% in early trade on Tuesday after the company said quarterly sales “didn’t quite hit” anticipated levels. The FTSE 250 firm now expects full-year pretax profits at the lower end of previous guidance.

In a trading update, Pets at Home said total group revenue rose 4.3% to £362.4 million in the three months to January 4. On a like-for-like basis, growth was 4.4%. The company’s veterinary division saw a “strong” 13% jump in sales, aided by additional vet recruitment.

However, growth of 3.5% in the retail division was below internal forecasts. Pets at Home said the business remains “fundamentally well positioned” with market share gains in pet food.

With retail falling short, Pets at Home downgraded full-year pretax profit expectations to around £132 million – ahead of last year’s £122.5 million but the bottom end of previous £132-142 million guidance.

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Chief Executive Lyssa McGowan said a “slower market over peak” meant sales increases didn’t meetanticipated levels. But she added that colleagues “delivered a record sales performance” over the key Christmas period.

Pets at Home remains financially “robust”, McGowan added, expecting to finish the year in a net cash position. Shares have fallen over 13% over the last year.