CORONA magazine |


The pet sector in coronavirus mode in Stratford

The team of in Stratford.

The coronavirus pandemic is gradually abating in Europe, but is still having a serious impact on parts of Asia, in the USA and in Latin America. Here is the latest news from the pet supplies sector.

They call themselves click & collect, drive or collect in-store: retail concepts that enable clients to buy online and pick up their goods in the store are experiencing strong momentum in the pet speciality retail sector during the coronavirus crisis. This is reported by different pet retail groups across Europe and the USA.

In the USA, Petco is promoting its so-called kerbside pick-up by stressing that this service "helps to protect health and safety of all clients while minimising social exposure by ordering online and getting your items hand-delivered to your car".

The Placˇek Group in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other Eastern European countries confirms along with Tom & Co. in Belgium and France that click & collect has developed into a key tool for supplying its clients with pet products.

German pet supplies firms are doing their bit in the coronavirus crisis. The Söll company, which belongs to the Oase Group, is currently manufacturing disinfectants for commercial use for the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. Maul Ledermanufaktur is sewing one-size masks for adults and masks in a smaller size for children in its saddlery. The masks are available in various colours and with different motifs. At Hunter, a portion of the production facilities was likewise switched to the manufacture of mouth and nose masks at the end of March.

During the coronavirus pandemic, more Italian consumers than ever want to know where to get the cheapest pet products. This is what the Italian edition of the price comparison portal Idealo found out, according to a report by the newsletter Pet B2B. The pet categories which have achieved the highest growth in recent months are bird products (+235.6 per cent) and aquatics products (+171.2 per cent), followed by dog products (+145.7 per cent) and cat products (+115.6 per cent).

Idealo also noted that the consumer prices of 21 selected pet products increased by 2.9 per cent on average during the lockdown period (in comparison with the period before). Food and accessory products for birds (+24.1 and 28.1 per cent), cat litter (+13.7 per cent), dog and cat kennels (+17.1 per cent) and transport boxes (+20.3 per cent) were affected most by the price increases, while prices for cat food (-18.4 per cent) and cat trees (-14 per cent) went down during the lockdown period, according to Idealo Italy.

Pet care is the category that experienced the highest growth of all categories in Italian online trade between the end of February and middle of April. Sales of pet products increased in this period by 154 per cent, followed by grocery products (+130 per cent), home care products (+126 per cent) and personal care products (+93 per cent). This is the result of a survey undertaken by the company Netcomm of 280 brands from different business sectors. The Italian newsletter operator Pet B2B wrote about the study in its issue of 11 May.

The internationally active packaging and paper company Mondi plans to produce 10 000 protective gowns in three plants in Germany (Halle, Steinfeld and Gronau) and donate them to workers in local nursing homes and old people's homes. The disposable protective clothing will be made of extruded PE tubes, the company says.

The pet food manufacturer Nestlé Purina is supporting animal shelters and pet welfare organisations in more than 15 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa by donating over 2 mio meals for dogs and cats.

The US pet retail chain Petco has decided to furlough many of its employees for up to eight weeks due to the coronavirus crisis. This is reported by a number of specialist pet magazines in the US in the current issues of their online newsletters. Among those concerned by this development will be people in various dog trainer roles, entry-level guest experience specialists and selling experience leaders. Only a small number of groomers will be concerned, because Petco deems grooming essential for pet health and well-being.

Additionally, different media outlets report that Ron Coughlin, CEO of Petco, will forego 100 per cent of his salary, while senior vice-presidents and vice-presidents will take 25 per cent and 15 per cent cuts respectively. Petco recently cut 35 corporate office positions.

One of the UK's biggest online pet supplies retailers,, has tripled its staff to cope with growing demand from pet owners across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of employees has been boosted to nearly 70 in the warehouse and ten in the office. "We made the decision to keep our telephone lines open to help mainly elderly people who don't have access to the Internet, but the majority of these staff are working from home," said Adam Taylor, who co-founded the business with his wife in 2010.

Sales staff in pet stores are constantly under stress during the coronavirus pandemic. The managing director of German pet store chain Superpet, Frank Dinkelacker, didn't want to just leave it at words of gratitude, however; he wanted to give proper support to his "super helpers" in sales, and came up with an idea that was so well received that it has now been adopted in the same or a similar manner by other pet store companies.

In the period from 27 March to 16 April, Superpet offered a discount of 5 per cent on its entire range. Customers had to decide at the till whether to have the discount deducted from their overall spend or to donate it to the sales staff. Most customers decided to donate, thereby raising the impressive sum of 22 500 euros during the promotion. The money was paid net to employees proportionally according to the hours worked. The staff were delighted.

The US pet trade fair Superzoo, scheduled for 1-3 September in Las Vegas, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next edition of Superzoo will take place from 17 to 19 August 2021.

In a TV commercial on the biggest Czech commercial TV station TV Nova, the leading Czech pet trade group Super Zoo thanked its employees for their commitment to date in the coronavirus crisis. The specialist retail chain, which is part of the Placˇek Group, wanted to express its great respect for its committed employees, who are maintaining the supply of pet products to the population even in these difficult times. The Placˇek Group operates around 90 pet stores in the Czech Republic.

The organiser of the World Dog Show in Madrid has had to announce a new date for the show for the second time. Originally planned for 23-26 April, the decision was taken back in mid-March to put the show back to 9-12 July in light of the coronavirus pandemic. However, these dates cannot be met due to the coronavirus crisis. The new dates now given for the World Dog Show in Madrid are 17-20 December.

Online sales of pet food are steadily increasing in the USA. Last year they reached a turnover of 5.8 bn dollars, out of a total market of 36 bn dollars in the USA. As people stayed at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce pet food sales more than tripled between January and March compared with the previous year.

Sales in January were already 21 per cent higher than in the previous year. In March, however, sales of pet food rose by as much as 77 per cent compared with last March, while stationary retailers sold around 26 per cent more in the same month. Dry pet food sales showed the strongest growth, up 84 per cent from the same month last year. These figures were reported by Nielsen Global Connect.

Corona Special at PET

How is the international pet supplies sector reacting to the coronavirus crisis? Which trade shows might still take place? What is going to happen? All the news, reports and information from the editorial staff on coronavirus and its impact on the pet industry can be read at and in PET worldwide.  Along with the latest news, the new Corona Special also features information from the authorities and other bodies relating to the topic. The pages are updated on an ongoing basis.

To promote communication within the sector, the PET worldwide team is keeping its readers constantly in the loop. That's why it also offers on its website an info box where they will be able to read the current issue 3/2020 (appearing on 14 July) free of charge as an e-book.




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