- Pet product retailer and veterinary group Pets at Home posted a 14% rise in first-half profit and said it expected to achieve a flat underlying performance for the full year.

Pre-tax profit for the 28 weeks through 8 October increased to £38.9 million, up from £34.0 million year-on-year, as revenue grew 5.1% to £574.4 million.

Underlying pre-tax profit,however, fell 5.1% to £39.6 million, though underlying profit had jumped 44% in the second quarter following a difficult first quarter marred by lockdowns.

Pets at Home held its interim dividend steady at 2.5p per share.

On its outlook, Pets at Home said it expected to post a flat underlying pre-tax profit for the full year, assuming no escalation of Covid-19 restrictions or other unexpected disruptions.

The company said the stronger performance experienced in the second quarter had continued into the third.

However, it added that the pandemic continued to create a number of material uncertainties, from a potential escalation of current restrictions on a national level, to reversion to a tiered system of localised restrictions.

'In spite of the ongoing and wide-ranging impact of Covid-19, there is much to be optimistic about,' chief executive Peter Pritchard said.

'The market in which we operate remains resilient, with recent changes to our work and leisure patterns supporting rising levels of pet ownership, a good proxy for future growth in both the underlying market and our business.'

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