Pets at Home Group PLC (LON:PETS) upgraded its full-year profit forecast after better than expected trading over the past eight weeks.

The pet products retailer said underlying pre-tax profit for the year to March 25 should be around £85mln, ahead of previous guidance of at least £77mln but below last year’s £99mln.

READ: Pets at Home comfortable with essential retailer denomination as it posts 18% sales surge

The figure includes the previously announced repayment of business rates relief of £28.9mln.

The FTSE 250 firm said the guidance previously shared reflected uncertainties over the near-term outlook, such as higher COVID-19 infection rates and restrictions on a national level, as well as potential supply disruption relating to Brexit.

Instead, performance was strong with growth across all channels and categories, it added.

The group’s store portfolio is allowed to trade as an essential retailer during lockdowns.  

“The rapid improvement is evidence of just how strong recent trading has been, and the effect rolling lockdowns are having – both on pet ownership and our willingness to splash out on our furry friends,” analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown commented.

There is always a risk of course that newly acquired pets fall out of favour once lockdown comes to an end, but for now pet retail is in the jaws of a boom.”

Shares rose 2% to 391.4p early on Friday.

–Adds analyst comment, shares–

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