Pets at Home has benefited from a lift in sales after it brought down prices to compete with online rivals.
On a like-for-like basis, retail sales were up 6.1% while vet sales grew by 13.6%.
Pets at Home has been lowering prices to drive higher sales and has been expanding its vet services business, which chief executive Peter Pritchard has described as one of the “biggest opportunities” for the firm.
Stock had been heavily shorted this year, and its share price almost halved between October 2017 and August.
However, following the results update, the chain’s shares jumped by more than 12%.
“The product price gap between Pets at Home and online rivals has halved in the last 18 months, helping improve brand loyalty and deterring consumers from switching to discounters or supermarkets,” said Fiona Paton, retail analyst at Global Data.
“The ‘easy repeat delivery’ subscription service, allowing customers repeat delivery of perishable pet goods across approximately 350 products, is an added way to defend against online competition.”
Mr Pritchard said: “I am really pleased with our start to the year, particularly as trading across both retail and the vet business has been consistently strong.
“But I believe we need a sharpening of focus to become a business that will continue to win over the long term, where it is essential that we maximise our assets and data as an integrated pet care business and reinvigorating the customer experience in-store becomes key.”