Pet food seller Jollyes said it would create around 150 new jobs by opening 20 new stores to meet increased demand from Britons who bought pets during the pandemic.
The company said it had experienced significant growth over the past two years and was accelerating its plans by opening new locations in the next 18 months.
He said some of the new stores would be opened after buying up smaller rivals, while others would be brand new.
The retailer, which has 67 stores across the country, has seen sales rise 21% in the past three months compared to the same quarter two years earlier.
“While staying open throughout the pandemic to serve animal lovers has not been easy due to the added cost and complexity, our employees have more than risen to the challenge and we have had a very successful year with sensational progress,” said the executive chairman. Richard Coter.
“And we’re excited about our future – we’ve worked hard to build a solid platform that will allow us to do so much more – new and better stores, wider ranges and further investment in our people as we bring their passion for pets to more communities across the UK.
Pet ownership has skyrocketed during lockdowns over the past year and a half.
According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, 3.2 million households have had a pet since the pandemic began.
There are now around 12 million cats and 12 million dogs in homes across the UK.
Jollyes said they have seen a 50% increase in sales of birds such as canaries. Reptile sales were up 14%, he added.
But people don’t just take care of their own animals. There was a 10% increase in wild bird food sales, the company said.
The retailer said it will carefully consider the location of new stores it plans to open.