Jollyes, the Pet Industry Federation’s 2023 retail chain of the year, confirmed it had delivered its strongest-ever first half trading performance for the 26 weeks to 27 November 2023 as it continued its strong market outperformance.
During the quarter, Jollyes posted its highest-ever trust pilot scores, opened eight stores and confirmed it now expects to open its 100th store ahead of schedule in early 2024.
The nationwide pet superstore’s FY24 first half saw a continuation of the market out-performance it has maintained for the last three years.
Total sales for the first half of its 2024 financial year were £70m, 31 per cent higher than the £54m posted for H1 in the prior year.
In the half year, Jollyes posted like-for-like sales of 19 per cent, as its offer of value, service and choice continues to be in lock-step with customer’s needs and expectations.
This growth is a step up from the 17 per cent like-for-like number Jollyes achieved in FY23 and is firmly based on transaction and basket-size growth and not price inflation, which is flat reflecting the high demand for the great value it is delivering to customers.
During the first half of the year, Jollyes also strengthened its customer PETCLUB scheme by introducing new tiers for its biggest fans, offering exclusive prices and more rewards.
Alongside the savings PETCLUB membership brings in store and online, PETCLUB can now be used across services Jollyes provides in its Jolly Groomer salons and community pet clinics.
New Store Rollout & Services
In the first half of FY24, Jollyes added eight new stores, in Swindon, Belfast (Boucher Road), Merthyr Tydfil, Harrogate, Widnes), Swadlincote, Reading and Hull bringing the total number of Jollyes stores to 98.
Jollyes has now added 31 stores to its estate over the last two years, an increase of over 40 percent. It will open its 99th store in Connswater – its third Belfast store – in early March and its 100th store later in the month, well ahead of schedule.
Where possible, Jollyes is opening its new stores with a full service offer including a Jolly Groomer and community pet clinic that offers low-cost vaccinations and microchipping. Jollyes welcomes the recently announced CMA review into the vet sector and expects to contribute to its investigation into how well the £2bn UK market is working for pet owners.
Sector-leading Customer Service
As a key indicator of the high quality advice and service that Jollyes offers to pet parents it has to date received over 43,500 Trustpilot reviews, 87 per cent with a five-star rating, generating a sector-leading score of 4.7.
These independent customer ratings continue to be underpinned by Jollyes investment in training and support for its colleagues as it embarks on an ambition to be one of the best employers in retail.
To help drive that ambition. during the quarter Jollyes appointed Claire Goldenberg to be its first people director. Claire joins Jollyes after almost 20 years HR retail experience with Bensons for Beds and Currys plc.
Jollyes continues to invest in its SQP training programme through Vetpol, with another 51 colleagues in training looking to join the 132 suitably qualified colleagues able to dispense veterinary medicines as it deepens the quality of advice for customers.
Future FY24 Developments
Looking ahead to the rest of its 2024 financial year, Jollyes also outlined significant moves to sustain and grow its capacity and brand. These include:
- United Petfood – After six months of capacity and palatability testing, it has concluded a contract with United Petfood to help build its growing private label business which already accounts for over half its dog food sales.
As part of the new deal to supply Jollyes growing Lifestage brand of food and treats, United will create 36 new jobs as part of its three-year contract at its production facilities at Llangadog and Pencader in South Wales and Longridge near Preston.
- Wincanton – Jollyes has extended its contract with Wincanton that will allow it to begin moving its distribution operations to a new site in Middlewich, Cheshire from February 2024.
The new location will provide Jollyes with a much larger space and the ability to accommodate its rapid store growth that has already seen it add 31 stores to its estate across the last two years.
The move to Middlewich will build capacity so Wincanton can pick and deliver up to 25 per cent more cases each year as it replenishes all Jollyes stores, fulfilling over 10,000 deliveries each year.
- Marketing – In support of its 99th store at Connswater Shopping Centre in Belfast, Jollyes intends to launch its first-ever TV advertising campaign as it supports its market-leading position in Northern Ireland where it will trade from 15 stores.
The campaign will launch in the first calendar quarter of 2024 around the time Connswater opens.
- BillyChip – Shortly Jollyes intends to roll out a partnership with the Bristol-based social enterprise that will see it offer its street currency – The BillyChip – on sale in it stores for £2. Those tokens can be given by customers to those living on the streets in exchange for a coffee or food. In Jollyes they will be redeemable for tins of dog food.
While numbers are hard to assess, a recent survey indicated since the pandemic, as many as 320,000 people experienced homelessness with between 5-25pc being homeless with a pet. The University of Bristol earlier this summer shared data from new research that showed the homeless and their dogs have a mutually beneficial relationship, with the dogs providing critical support for their owners’ emotional and mental health while owners make every effort to protect the dog and meet their welfare needs.
Jollyes will become BillyChip’s first partner outside of the food and services sector.
Commenting on the delivery of the record-breaking half year, Jollyes’ chief executive officer Joe Wykes said:
“There’s no doubt we’ve had a tremendous six months, delivering for customers, our people and our shareholders.
“And as always, behind the numbers sits the hard work of our 1,000-plus strong team as we transform this business with real pace – they continue to inspire me every day.
“But we also all know past performance is no guarantee future success.
“That’s why we’re determined to guard against complacency, investing in new partnerships that will help strengthen our momentum in the months and years ahead.”