Jollyes today confirmed it had delivered its best-ever Q1 trading performance for the 13 weeks to 27 August 2023, and that it planned to open 10 stores by the middle of 2024, breaking through its 100-store target well ahead of schedule.

The nationwide pet superstore’s FY24 first quarter performance saw a marked acceleration on the market-beating numbers it delivered for FY23.

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Total sales for the first quarter of its 2024 financial year were £33.7m, a third – 33.6 per cent – higher than the £25.3m it posted for Q1 in the prior year.

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In the quarter, Jollyes posted like-for-like sales of 23.1 per cent, and the company continues to grow materially faster than other retailers in the pet sector demonstrating its offer of value, service and choice is perfectly aligned with customer sentiment.

This growth is a step up from the 17 per cent like-for-like number Jollyes achieved in FY23.

This strong like-for-like growth also excludes the average 80 per cent LFL performance at six stores open slightly longer than a year, but not yet included in Jollyes’ like-for-like Q1 reporting.

Jollyes like-for-like growth has almost exclusively come from transaction growth and not via price inflation which only accounts for only two per cent of that progress.  In fact, the Company has been able to reduce prices on key lines in the quarter despite inflation, as it delivers on its best-value promise to customers.

Growth during the quarter was also supported by a significant increase in sign-ups to its PetCLUB (47 per cent) as customers took advantage of the extra value membership brings.

Accelerating Jollyes New Store Rollout

In the quarter, Jollyes added three new stores, in Swindon, Belfast (Boucher Road) and Merthyr Tydfil, bringing the total number of Jollyes stores to 93.

Jollyes has now added 26 stores to its estate across the last two years, an increase of almost 40 percent.

With the backing of a new multi-million facility from HSBC, Jollyes now confirms it intends to step-up its opening programme with another 10 new locations before the end of its financial year in May 2024, allowing it to break through the 100-store mark well ahead of schedule.

Store openings planned over the rest of the calendar year include Harrogate and Widnes (both end September), Swadlincote (end October) and Reading and Hull (end November).

In the first half of 2024 Jollyes also plans to open additional stores in North and South Yorkshire, Tyneside, Bristol, South Wales, Northern Ireland and Central Scotland.

Investing in Services

In Q1, Jollyes also completed the relaunch of all its Spas to new Jolly Groomer branding with simple pricing so customers only pay for the services they need,  The rollout of Jolly Groomers is part of a £1m investment in the provision of vet clinics, grooming parlours and other pet services in its stores.

One of the Best Employers in Retail

Over the quarter Jollyes has also invested in its colleagues as it embarks on an ambition to be one of the best employers in retail.

The business has launched an innovative package of benefits for all its 1,000-plus colleagues nationwide, including birthday leave, a ‘pet-eternity’ day for colleagues getting a new pet in the family, a week off on full pay for all colleagues on when they get married, enhanced maternity and paternity leave and an enhanced 20 per cent discount off all Jollyes services.

It has also continued with its SQP training programme in Q1 through Vetpol, with another 52 colleagues in training looking to join the 132 suitably qualified colleagues able to dispense veterinary medicines  deepening the quality of advice for customers.

Commenting on the Company’s outstanding quarter, Jollyes’ chief executive officer Joe Wykes said:

“Our performance in our opening quarter of this financial year underlines the effectiveness of the strategy we’ve put in place – delivering exceptional value to our customers, powered by the most knowledgeable colleagues in the industry.

“It’s clear that the dedication of our people and our commitment to value, combined with smart use of our PetCLUB membership data, is a compelling recipe, delivering strong performance in our existing stores and allowing us to open new locations that perform from day one.

“Growing retailers – especially those developing at our pace – are exciting places to work, but I know that can also be demanding on our own people.  Once again I’d like to thank our whole team for what they’ve all contributed.

“Nothing has made me prouder this quarter than the investment we’ve made in them, as we work hard to be one of the best employers in retail.”