Pets at Home appoints new CEO with proven pedigree

Share in Pets at Home (FARTS) improved 1.1% to 412p as investors applauded the pet food-to-veterinary services group’s appointment of Lyssa McGowan as its new chief executive.

McGowan joins from Sky UK, where she is chief customer officer, overseeing a consumer business serving more than 10 million customers and generating over $10 billion of revenues. The hand over from the well-regarded Peter Pritchard is on 1 June 2022.

Liberum Capital insisted on the appointment ‘represents a high quality, very experienced hire’ from the UK’s pet care leader.

PROVEN PEDIGREE

McGowan brings ‘a proven track record of growth at Sky’, according to Pets at Home chairman Ian Burke and she is excited ‘to lead Pets at Home on its journey to being the best pet care business in the world’.

She joins a retailer in rude health. One of Shares’ stock picks for 2022, Pets at Home recently reported solid third quarter trading and upgraded annual profit guidance again.

The retailer continues to benefit from a buoyant UK pet care market, which received a major boost from Covid lockdowns and continues to see growth in new pet owner customers.

THE EXPERTS’ TAKE

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, insisted McGowan ‘looks like a great hire for Pets at Home, bringing expertise in data and digital channels for a consumer audience. The pet products retailer has been enjoying recent success with its VIP club which is helping to strengthen customer loyalty and give more insight into spending habits.

‘McGowan’s experience in a top consumer role at Sky could help take Pets at Home’s analytical capabilities to the next level. Understanding the customer and how they might spend more money is an important goal for retailers.’

Reiterating its ‘buy’ rating on Pets at Home, Liberum added: ‘Her consumer, subscription, and data/digital credentials are in sync with Pets at Home’s self-help levers that give us confidence it can continue its impressive progress of the past few years.’

The broker added that Pets at Home ‘is in an enviable position and should have a multi-year benefit from the increase in pet ownership seen over COVID. The size of the cross-sell opportunity remains significant and a strong support to already robust margins.’

DISCLAIMER: Financial services company AJ Bell referenced in this article owns Shares magazine. The author of this article (James Crux) and the editor (Martin Gamble) own shares in AJ Bell.

READ MORE ON PETS AT HOME HERE


Issue Date: 07 Feb 2022

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