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Pet retailer plans to develop first ‘Covid store’ after lockdown sales surge

PetPlace Managing Director Sion Pritchard

A PET retailer will roll out new branding after significant reinvestment following a lockdown sales surge and funding boost.

PetPlace has pumped the £1million it received from the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme (CLBILS) back into the business.

The award-winning company, which has a headquarters in Mochdre and sites in Ruthin, Chirk, Abergele and Mold, will be redeveloping its Llangefni store to introduce a play park, coffee bar and cinema for dogs.

It will be their first ‘Covid store’ and designed with the health and safety of staff and customers in mind.

Measures will include new till screens, signage, trollies, wider aisles and the installation of revolutionary Record FlowControl – already in place at Abergele and Chirk – an automated system which monitors the numbers of people inside and only allows a shopper to enter when someone has exited the building.

Managing Director Sion Pritchard says PetPlace – which marks its 50th anniversary this year – will be fully-prepared should there be a second wave of the virus or a situation that requires staff to work from home or remotely.

“We are in a strong position and because we moved quickly – with the support of Lloyds Bank – safety measures were put in place in all of our stores and we were able to carry on trading,” he said.

“The Click and Collect service and deliveries really took off, with us shipping hundreds of products all over the UK every day.

“As a result, we saw a big rise in online sales which has enabled the business to get on the front foot and prepare for the future, starting with the rebranding of our 25,000 sq ft Llangefni store.”

PetPlace is also stocking innovative accessories, treats and food ranges, including Ruffwear and Waudog, and launched a new website during lockdown having unveiled a LinkedIn page in past weeks.

They have also partnered with North Wales names for store improvements, including Llanddulas-based Active CCTV, and Rawson IT, from Wrexham, who installed a cutting-edge cloud-based telephone system so staff could work from home during the pandemic.

Craig Davies, Managing Director of Rawson IT, said the advanced technology will allow them to control the multi-site business from their central office.

“The system will make communication a lot easier across all of the stores,” he added.

“We did the job remotely to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees and we are sure it will benefit PetPlace for many years to come.”

Meanwhile, Sion has the prestigious honour of representing Welsh firms and the pet retail sector when he joins the panel for Lloyds Bank’s virtual Big Conversation event on September 30.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of that and I am proud to have been asked,” said Sion, himself celebrating 20 years with PetPlace.

“It gives us the chance to tell our story, represent the industry and fly the flag for businesses in Wales who have faced significant challenges since the onset of the Coronavirus.”

He added: “These have been unprecedented times, but with the support of our loyal customers and hard work of dedicated staff we can confidently move ahead with a bright vision for the future focused on health, safety and wellbeing.”