Depending on your choice of estimates, the pet industry (products, services, medical) is a $40+ billion industry. Even if you do not own a dog or cat, the proliferation of the pet industry over the past 24 months would be hard to miss. Pet products and services are cropping up in traditional retail and service environments, including department stores, hotels, chain mass and drug stores. The reason for this proliferation, in my opinion, is that given the size of the market and the forward projected growth, these channels what their slice of the, er, kibble. The truth is that pets are become surrogates for children in double income families and among empty nesters.

With increasing affluence being amassed by certain segments of the pet owner population, there appears to be an unending willingness to spend of pet health and wellness and creature comforts. This phenomenon is often reffered to as “the humanization of pets”. Consider that Neiman Marcus has incorporated a pet section into Neimanmarcus.com, nearly every Ritz Carlton is now pet friendly, The Loews hotel chain offers a “Loews Loves Pets” program, and many major retail brands including Coach, Harley Davdison and Channel are offering branded pet products. More will certainly follow as success stories emerge.

Despite it’s size and potential for growth in the industry, it is often under represented in discussion of the consumer landscape and certainly under appreciated by the investment banking world. That is to say, historically transactional finance advisory has serviced the vertical through adjacent markets, primarily food industry bankers. As such. the equity research associated with the pet market is, well, quite sparse. More often than not, due to the structure of the industry, pet related market information is buried as a footnote inside the annual reports and associated coverage of conglomerates who control the pet food space — Nestle Purina, Del Monte Foods, etc. Consider that two of the largest pet industry pureplays — Petsmart and VCA Antech have no buldge bracket industry bank coverage. This has, in my opinion ,created some information asymmetry between the investment community and the operators. However, we expect this will soon change as capital inflows into emerging brands in the industry begins to accelerate. In the interim, I’d like to think I am here to help. Below is an overview of the major pet industry trends as I see them (copyrighted, all rights reserved, not kosher to represent as your own, etc., etc.).

If you are an operating or investor in this space, and you are interesting in seeing my full industry module, I can be reached at bjaffe@cascadiacapital.com.

/bryan

Advertisements