THE cost of living crisis isn’t stopping pet owners splurging on festive treats for their furry friend.
In the pandemic, three million more dogs and cats were bought by British households as companions to lift their lockdown spirits.
The spike in ownership continued as a shift to flexible working meant more people could fit walking a dog and caring for a pet into their daily lives.
The “pet baby boom” fuelled a dramatic increase in the price of puppies and kittens.
There are now 17 million households in Britain with pets, around 60 per cent of the population.
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And 60 per cent of owners will also spend the same on their pets as their human friends, according to research from Pets at Home.
Pets have also become such important members of the family, that half will receive presents from their friends and extended members of family, the poll says.
More than 50 per cent of pets will receive a Christmas stocking — with a quarter of owners saying they’ll buy their pet a Christmas jumper.
More than half will be treating their pet to their own Christmas dinner.
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People are also shopping for festive treats early, with Pets at Home recording a quarter of a million Christmas dog toys and almost 100,000 advent calendars already being snapped up.
Meanwhile, 20,000 Christmas cat treats have been purchased.
The retailer’s advent calendars for pets start at £2.50, but its luxury £30 giant treat advent calendar sold out online in the first three days.
Lyssa McGowan, chief executive of Pets at Home, said: “Pets play a huge part in our lives, so it’s no surprise owners want to show their appreciation by treating their pets at Christmas just like other members of the family.
“We have seen demand grow for our Christmas ranges over the years, with advent calendars, Christmas jumpers and stockings all firm favourites.”
WE’RE ANIMAL MAGIC
PET “parents” come to Pets at Home for great products and services – we even test dog harnesses to child safety standards.
But the real secret is our advice, whether about a new puppy or a senior pet.
As CEO of the UK’s largest employer of pet care talent, I see the positive impact our vets, nurses, retail experts, groomers and healthcare assistants make every day.
For many, working with animals is a dream job.
From our “earn as you learn” programme to Pet Ofqual accreditations and a nurse bursary scheme, we invest in our people.
As one of a handful of UK-listed female CEOs, I also have experience of the barriers people face in their careers.
Pets just see people and I am dedicated to a truly inclusive environment with equal opportunities for all.
RYANAIR GIVES 1ST DIVIDEND
A SUMMER holiday boom has led to Ryanair issuing its first dividend in three decades.
The low-cost airline used to argue it prefers to invest in its business than pay dividends to shareholders.
But hiking airfares and a boom in bookings has meant Ryanair now has so much cash on its balance sheet it will start regularly rewarding shareholders, starting with a £346million dividend.
The airline has previously spent money on share buybacks and special dividends but never committed to regular shareholder payments until now — underscoring how the travel industry has fully recovered from the pandemic.
Ryanair said its revenues had grown by 30 per cent to £7.3billion in the six months to the end of December.
Its profits have also soared 59 per cent to £1.88billion after raising airfares by a quarter to an average £50 per ticket.
NEW CAR GROWTH
NEW car registrations rose in October above pre-pandemic levels for the first time as supply chain issues have finally eased.
The number grew by 14.3 per cent to 153,529, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Electric and hybrids are the quickest risers, largely driven by business and fleet accounts. SMMT said there remain significant shortages of chargers in the North after 105 were taken out of service.
1ST KLARNA JOY
BUY now, pay later firm Klarna has made its first profit in four years as it takes further steps towards a stock market listing.
The Swedish company, which lets shoppers stagger payments, reported a £6.6million third quarter profit compared to a £146million loss last year.
Revenues increased by 30 per cent to £445million.
Klarna has set up a UK-based holding firm as an “important ingredient in any eventual successful initial public offering”, it was reported at the weekend.
RETAIL sales fell last month as people reined in spending ahead of Christmas — but the “lipstick effect” returned as they indulged in small luxuries.
The British Retail Consortium said non-food sales dropped one per cent, but small beauty purchases rose.
U-TURN ON ROSE
THE Information Commissioner has apologised to ousted Natwest boss Dame Alison Rose for suggesting she broke privacy rules over the Nigel Farage debanking saga.
It said it was “incorrect” to state she breached data protection laws and admitted it had not investigated her or sought a comment.
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The back-track could influence the bank’s decision as to whether she is entitled to her maximum £5.3million package.
She admits she was the source of a story about Coutts closing Mr Farage’s account.