Pet Valu, the specialty retailer of pet food and supplies, said Wednesday that it will wind down operations at its Pennsylvania headquarters and close all of its 358 stores and warehouses across the U.S. It said closing sales will begin in the next few days. Jamie Gould, Pet Valu’s recently appointed chief restructuring officer, said in a press release that the company’s stores “have been significantly impacted by the protracted COVID-19-related restrictions. After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to commence this orderly wind down,” she said. The retailer has already stopped accepting orders on its website.
Total Retail's Take: While the closing of retail businesses shouldn't comes as a surprise considering the prolonged impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the industry, this one may raise some eyebrows. And the reason why is the product vertical that Pet Valu operates in. The health crisis, and its subsequent stay-at-home orders, fueled a pet boom across the U.S. Animal rescues and breeders saw a jump in the number of pet adoptions and foster parents during the global health crisis. That’s led to higher sales for some retailers in the category, including Petco and PetSmart, and e-commerce pet retailer Chewy. In fact, in Total Retail's recently released Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers report, Chewy topped the list. However, even with the lift we've seen in the pet category in 2020, it wasn't enough to save Pet Valu. The heavily brick-and-mortar business was unable to recoup the losses it sustained in its physical retail business via its e-commerce site. Sadly to say, Pet Valu has company in that regard.