FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 08 January 2021
Accelerating momentum during Q3 resulting in upgrade to full-year outlook
Pets at Home Group Plc, the UK's leading pet care business, is pleased to provide an update on trading for the third quarter of our current financial year, which concluded on 31 December 2020.
Our H1 FY21 results on 24 November 2020, covering the 28-week period to 8 October 2020, highlighted the inherent resilience of both our pet care model and the underlying pet care market. This was reflected in strong sales momentum across our Retail and Veterinary operations during Q2 despite an extremely challenging external environment.
This momentum has accelerated across all channels during our third quarter, with "high-teens" Group LFL sales growth during December.
While renewed COVID-related restrictions on a national level may constrain trade, we remain an "essential" retailer and the measures we continue to take across our stores, veterinary practices and online operations are ensuring we remain in a strong position to meet all of our customers' pet care needs.
At this stage, based on trading year to date and assuming no change to our "essential" designation or the recently issued guidance1 from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), we now anticipate full-year underlying pre-tax profit, including the previously announced repayment of business rates relief of £28.9m, to be at least £77m2, ahead of our previous guidance.
Our robust balance sheet and liquidity position was strengthened further at the end of 2020 through £80m in initial cash proceeds relating to the completion of the disposal of our Specialist Group.
We will provide further detail on our Q3 trading and customer metrics during our final quarter.
1. On 4 January 2021, following the announcement of renewed restrictions in England and Scotland, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association issued a joint statement confirming that, unlike the first UK-wide lockdown in March 2020, their guidance on permitted procedures to veterinary professionals would not be reverting to emergency-only work
2. In our H1 FY21 results on 24 November 2020, we anticipated FY21 Group underlying pre-tax profit on a post-IFRS16 basis to be £93.5m including business rates relief. On 4 December 2020, we announced our intention to repay the £28.9m of rates relief received
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This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulations (Regulation (EU) No.596/2014). For the purposes of MAR and Article 2 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1055, this announcement is being made on behalf of the Company by Roger Tejwani, Director of Investor Relations & External Communication.
Investor Relations Enquiries
Pets at Home Group Plc:
Roger Tejwani, Director of Investor Relations & External Communication
+44 (0)1279 927022
Chris Ridgway, Head of Investor Relations
+44 (0)7788 783925
Pets at Home Group Plc:
Gillian Hammond, Head of Media & Corporate Affairs
+44 (0)7442 500138
+44 (0)7711 972662
+44 (0)7557 833442
Pets at Home Group Plc is the UK's leading pet care business; our commitment is to make sure pets and their owners get the very best advice, products and care. Pet products are available online or from our 451 stores, many of which also have vet practices and grooming salons. Pets at Home also operates a UK leading small animal veterinary business, with 440 First Opinion practices located both in our stores and in standalone locations. For more information visit: http://investors.petsathome.com/
This trading statement does not constitute an invitation to underwrite, subscribe for, or otherwise acquire or dispose of any Pets at Home Group Plc shares or other securities nor should it form the basis of or be relied on in connection with any contract or commitment whatsoever. It does not constitute a recommendation regarding any securities. Past performance, including the price at which the Company's securities have been bought or sold in the past, is no guide to future performance and persons needing advice should consult an independent financial adviser. Certain statements in this trading statement constitute forward-looking statements. Any statement in this document that is not a statement of historical fact including, without limitation, those regarding the Company's future plans and expectations, operations, financial performance, financial condition and business is a forward-looking statement. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among other factors, changing economic, financial, business or other market conditions. These and other factors could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described in this statement. As a result you are cautioned not to place reliance on such forward-looking statements. Nothing in this statement should be construed as a profit forecast.