When Pete Cushing, founder of exotic pet store P.C., was a child, he’d often pick up a pet to give to a stranger.
“The first time I was given a dog, I’d just go and pick it up,” he says.
“And it was just like, ‘What’s going on here?'”
He had never really seen a pet store before, and he’d always thought that the stores would just be there to sell a bunch of different things.
Then one day, he stumbled across a PetSmart in his driveway.
It was just a regular-sized store.
“I was just blown away,” he recalls.
“It’s a huge business and they have a really large selection of products, so I was just floored.”
He started a website, PetScoop, to share his pet-sales experience.
“There were no reviews at the time, and I just kept posting,” he remembers.
Within months, the site had become one of the biggest sellers in the area, and PetSoop grew to become a huge pet store and online marketplace.
“That was the moment when the world started to change,” Cushing says.
PetCo is a pet retailer that specializes in the pet food and supplies category, but it also offers an array of other specialty products, including baby formula, shampoo, pet foods and grooming products.
In addition to PetCo, PetSmart and PetCo Plus have over 1,000 stores in 26 countries and have grown their online presence in recent years.
But PetCo’s growth has been slow, at least until now.
In November, the company posted its first quarterly results, which were disappointing, as the company reported a loss of $1.7 billion.
While the company didn’t release the full numbers for the fourth quarter, it did say that revenue from its pet stores declined 6.6% to $2.6 billion, and profit dropped to $1 million from $2 million.
Petco was forced to slash its growth plans for 2018 and 2019, and the company is reportedly planning to close some of its pet store locations.
The news of PetCo closing pet stores comes just two months after the company announced plans to sell its pet supplies business, PetCo Pet Care, to a private equity firm called AIG.
It is the largest pet supplies company in the world.
“We have a lot of potential growth opportunities with pet supply businesses and that’s something we’re exploring,” PetCo CEO Mike Yow said in a statement to CNBC.
“PetCo is one of our most valuable assets, and we look forward to investing in them and building our business into a sustainable, long-term sustainable enterprise.”
Yow says that PetCo plans to continue selling pet supplies and other pet products, but that the company plans to focus on growing its online presence, specifically through the pet store platform.
“For the last few years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the online marketplace, which has led us to the decision to close our pet stores,” Yow told CNBC.
As for PetCo Pets Plus, Yow is confident that Petco will survive.
“Pets Plus is still an attractive business for us, and as we continue to grow, we’ll be able to build more of that, too,” he said.