ANIMALS have been “a lifesaver” for people struggling during Covid lockdown, according to retailer Pets at Home which has seen sales rise sharply reports the BBC.
Chief executive Peter Pritchard said pets had played “an incredibly important role” through a period of “social loneliness”.
He added that during the early days of lockdown one of the few reasons people could go out “was to walk your dog”.
In the six months to 8 October, Pets at Home saw revenues rise by 5.1%.
Mr Pritchard told the BBC’s Today programme: “The pet care market has been incredibly strong throughout and I think that tells you an awful lot about people’s relationships with their pets and the roles that pets play in people’s lives.
“It has been a lifesaver for many through this incredibly challenging period for everybody in the country.”
He added that the change in more people working from home had allowed them to get a dog or a cat. “More people have considered having a pet because their lives have changed and they are at home more often,” he said.
The company sells some small animals and fish but does not sell cats or dogs. It said, however, that membership of its Puppy & Kitten Club for new owners had risen by 25% during the six-month period.
Pets at Home said the first half of its financial year, which runs between April and 8 October, reflected the entire period since the week after national lockdown was implemented. Restrictions on households weighed on trade in the first quarter before a 12.7% jump in like-for-like sales in the second three months.