Ralf Majer-Abele
PET plus


Under pressure

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The new year began in the pet supplies sector pretty much as the old one had ended. The coronavirus continues to hold the world in thrall, with infection rates rising sharply in many countries since the emergence of the Omicron variant. It has had an adverse impact on many retailers whose staff have contracted the virus and who have to work out how to carry on doing business in their stores.Retailers and manufacturers are following the increases in the price of raw materials, packaging and logistics with growing concern. Disruption to the supply chains is also ongoing and not likely to be overcome in the foreseeable future. Added to this is the hike in energy prices, which is causing serious problems for the logistics sector in particular.
Many pet product manufacturers implemented only modest price increases last year, and most can now no longer absorb the burgeoning costs they are incurring. There have been double-digit rises in the price of some pet foods and accessory products; retailers may pass these on directly or at least in part to the consumer. It is not yet clear what the consequences of this would be for the speciality trade. Some already fear that the premiumisation of the market, which benefited pet stores especially during the Covid-19 crisis, could soon come to an end, but this cannot be assumed yet. The increased health needs that have been observed among many consumers since the onset of the pandemic may not change in the next few years. Dogs and cats are established members of the family in many households, and these households are not likely to skimp on their pet food in the future either. Nevertheless, many families will be scrutinising retailers' price offers rather more closely in the next few months than they have been doing recently.
Omicron has also subjected the organisers of pet supplies trade shows to a fresh stress test. The Anido trade show scheduled for February in Belgium has been pushed back to September. At the time of ­PET worldwide going to press, however, the orga­nisers of the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, the Expozoo in Paris and PATS Sandown all indicated that their shows in March would go ahead as planned in the form of attended events. The WZF has also sent a strong signal by informing all Interzoo exhibitors on 20…
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