Pet Retailers See A Boost During The Pandemic


Retail Dive | April 21, 2020


On March 12 — the day after President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office about COVID-19 — foot traffic at Petco and PetSmart was up 8% and 6% respectively, according to analytics firm Placer.ai. And between March 12 and March 18, sales at Chewy — which PetSmart acquired in 2017 — were up 42.5%, at Petco up 41.8%, at PetSmart up 36%, at PetValu up 42.4% and at Pet Supplies Plus up 76.4%, according to data provided by Earnest Research.

For the four weeks ended March 28, pet food dollar growth was up 24% from the prior year, while pet supplies dollar growth was up 10.1% from last year during the same period, according to Nielsen data emailed to Retail Dive. At the same time, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's results for March, apparel sales fell a whopping 52% year over year, furniture sales fell 28.6%, sporting goods fell 23.5% and electronics fell 14%.


While sales at PetSmart, Petco, PetValu and Pet Supplies Plus decreased toward the end of March and early April, sales at Chewy increased 28.7%, according to Earnest Research. Chewy CEO Sumit Singh on an April earnings call with analysts discussing fourth quarter results said, "Our shop-at-home business is proving resilient amid the current economic disruption. Our volumes have increased as customers have chosen to stay at home and take advantage of the shopping convenience that we provide." The company reported net sales for the quarter ending Feb. 2 were up 35% from the year-ago period to $1.4 billion, as active customers increased 27.2% from the prior year to 13.5 million.


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