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Pets At Home sees annual pretax profit at top-end of market view

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(Reuters) – Britain’s Pets at Home Group Plc <PETSP.L> said on Tuesday it expects full-year underlying pretax profit towards the top end of current market view, boosted by higher demand for its pet food and vet services.

The company’s shares were up 7% in early trading.

The latest outlook comes a few months after the company said it expects annual underlying pretax profit above analysts’ estimates.

Pets at Home now expects a profit at the top end of the company-compiled consensus of between 87 million pounds ($111.62 million) and 93 million pounds.

The company’s upbeat profit view and strong results are a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy British retail sector, which has been hit by the rising popularity of online shopping and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Underlying pre-tax profit on a comparable basis rose 18.9% to 45 million pounds, with sales at the company’s vet business up 19.6% to 66.5 million pounds, for the six months ended Oct. 10.

The company decided last year to expand its higher-margin veterinary practice after its traditional business of selling dog and cat food struggled with weak sales.

However, a shortage of specialists in the UK hampered those plans.

The pet supplies retailer also said it has started succession planning for its Chairman Tony DeNunzio who has spent more than nine years in the role, in line with the accounting watchdog’s revised corporate code.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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