Petstock entered New Zealand eight months ago, but has only now officially made its presence known. The chain was contacted at the time by NZRetail and declined to comment.
Animates chief operating officer Tanya Houghton then said Petstock’s arrival would change the retail landscape “a little” for her company, which is by far New Zealand’s largest chain of pet stores. Animates reported total revenue of $71 million for the 2015 financial year.
Petstock’s four Kiwi stores are located in Auckland – Takapuna, Constellation Drive and Glen Innes – and the Waikato town of Cambridge. The company operates 119 stores in Australia and employs around 1500 staff.
Petstock says although it is normally a franchise business, its stores in New Zealand are corporate-owned and were acquired from going concerns. New Zealand country manager Aaron Waters says the company made the decision to integrate in to well-established existing specialty businesses.
“New Zealand is a natural fit for our offshore expansion programme because it is so similar in many aspects to Australia,” he says. “But we needed a strong customer base to get going so it made sense to integrate with existing businesses.”
“We are extremely pleased with our acquisitions as, most important, all have strong family values that align with ours and that has made the transition very smooth.”
The stores employ more than 50 staff, who will receive training through Petstock’s in-house customer service programme, ‘Puppies’. Waters says this will involve face-to-face training, webinars and eLearning modules.
“With the New Zealand birth rate halving since 1960, in many respects pets and especially dogs and cats have taken over the role of children substitutes in many households,” he says.
“And with around 25 per cent of New Zealand homes today housing only one human, pets are providing companionship and consequently pet services are booming.”
He cites some of the services available in PETstock stores as evidence of the flourishing role pets are playing in the lives of Kiwis.
The Constellation Drive store includes a vet clinic. Waters says Petstock intends to extend its vet clinic footprint as it rolls out new stores.