PetSmart Ducks the Recession

Sure, we might be facing one of the most difficult economic downturns in modern history, but consumers are still buying dog diapers, pet food cookbooks and orthopedic beds for their animals at PetSmart, according to Barron’s.

The retailer’s same-store sales rose 4% in its most recent quarter, while earnings were up 16%. And Americans are on track to spend $45 billion on their pets this year, up 5% from 2008.

We wondered if Petco was having the same success as PetSmart, but we forgot that the retailer was taken private in 2006. The chain is opening its 1,000th store this year, though.

Is this sector, unlike electronics, one that can support two major specialty chains? Or will the Wal-Marts of the world figure out a way to control this sector?

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7 Responses to “PetSmart Ducks the Recession”


  1. 1 Broker July 7, 2009 at 8:15 am

    The discounters have 2 or 3 aisles devoted to pet products, PetSmart has 18,000 sf including premium pet foods that cannot be obtained at Wal-Mart. People are fond of their pets and to the extent they can financially, treat them as well as any other member of the family.

  2. 2 James July 7, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Personally I think any animal larger than a Chihuahua belongs in a Zoo. Thank goodness for Petco/Petsmart most Americans don’t agree with me. I am not surprised to see this business emerging as recession proof, people value their pets more than ever during these tough times. Can Walmart beat them down? Do they want to? As long as the two pet suppliers don’t canabalize each others trsde areas they should be OK. Maybe even Walmart needs to recognize some limits, limits driven by the sheer size of the store, the customers willingness and ability to walk, the real value of their floor space. I see the pet stores in the same retail development with Walmart, maybe that’s a good thing for them both.

  3. 3 patrick July 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I generally agree with James, except that I feel that most dogs under 30 pounds should be kicked as far as their weight allows (I ❤ my german shepherd). The reason that PetSmart and the like are succeeding is that they are an all-in-one solution for pet problems, which tend to be very touchy feely. It isn't that pet owners all want to lavish their pets. Some do; but most of us simply understand that a little bit of dog/cat luxury is still cheaper than a latte and gives us greater satisfaction. It's all about shifting our dispensable income a little; not necessarily a lot. In segments that can cater to such a shift, those who get it will succeed tremendously.

  4. 4 John G July 8, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Both Petco and Petsmart are doing very well. Expect them to continue to do so. Wal-Mart should remain an accessory pet retailer rather than A to Z. Besides, while most humans shop Wal-Mart now, there may still be some “snobbery” in the pet world…..

  5. 5 Sam July 9, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I wish Walmart had more pet products like the medications and premium foods. I shop at Walmart and this would save me a trip at Petsmart. Plus, I bet I could save money at Walmart.

  6. 6 Jack July 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Does anyone know the relative prices on like products at Wal-Mart verses Petco and Petsmart? It’s always been my impression that Wal-Mart had lower prices. If they started selling medication and other pet food items I would expect they would have a similar price advantage.

  7. 7 Jack July 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Does anyone know the relative prices on like products at Wal-Mart verses Petco and Petsmart? It’s always been my impression that Wal-Mart had lower prices. If they started selling medication and other pet food items I would expect they would have a similar price advantage.


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