Petco was in the pet goods business long before it began facing competition from online retailers. But CEO Ron Coughlin says the legacy company has shown that this old dog has learned some new tricks.
“Amazon and Chewy are clearly effective competitors,” Coughlin said, adding Walmart to the list.
But Petco, too, is trying to win over digital customers. It has launched an app along with a number of new initiatives in the last year, such as the option to ship items to nearby Petco stores in an effort to help customers avoid delivery fees. Coughlin said that has been particularly successful.
“We have a million users on our app,” Coughlin said. “Our buy online, pick up in-store is now 60 percent of our online sales that aren’t repeat deliveries.”
Coughlin noted that Petco’s shift in strategy has delivered the company 20 percent growth in the last year.
Rival PetSmart shelled out more than $3 billion to acquire Chewy in 2017, before taking the company public earlier this year.
When asked if Petco is considering a similar acquisition of smaller startups in the pet space, Coughlin says executing on the partnerships it’s formed is the top priority.
“I think the most significant thing we’re doing right now is we’re launching the fastest build-out of a vet network [that has] ever been done,” Coughlin said, adding that Petco is launching 80 to 100 in-store vet hospitals a year.
Last month, rumors began to swirl that dog walking app Wag was exploring a sale to Petco following a report by Recode. Coughlin believes the rumors spurred from a fresh partnership between Petco and Wag that launched around the same time.
“We’re always looking at what’s out there in the marketplace,” Coughlin said. “We really like our holistic proposition of food, grooming, vet, training.”
Coughlin has been CEO of Petco since June of last year and says, despite promising growth, there are no plans to take the company public anytime soon.
“Right now, we’re just focused on executing our game plan. That gives us optionality down the road,” Coughlin said. “We feel good about the company right now.”