S-1
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 3, 2020

 

Registration No. 333-            

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

PET Acquisition LLC

to be converted as described herein into a corporation named

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware    5990    81-1005932

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

  

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

  

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

10850 Via Frontera

San Diego, California 92127

(858) 453-7845

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Ronald Coughlin, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer

PET Acquisition LLC

10850 Via Frontera

San Diego, California 92127

(858) 453-7845

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

Andrew L. Fabens

Sean P. Griffiths

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

200 Park Avenue

New York, New York 10166

(212) 351-4000

 

Michael Nuzzo

Ilene Eskenazi

Marty Lorenzo

PET Acquisition LLC

10850 Via Frontera

San Diego, California 92127

(858) 453-7845

 

Michael Benjamin

Brian D. Paulson

Tad J. Freese

Latham & Watkins LLP

885 Third Avenue

New York, New York 10022

(212) 906-1200

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after this Registration Statement becomes effective.

If any of the securities being registered on this form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer        Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer        Smaller reporting company  
    Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Each Class of

Securities to be Registered

 

Proposed

Maximum
Aggregate Offering
Price(1)(2)

  Amount of
Registration Fee

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

  $100,000,000   $10,910

 

 

(1)

Includes             shares of Class A common stock issuable upon the exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares.

(2)

Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the amount of registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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EXPLANATORY NOTE

PET Acquisition LLC, the registrant whose name appears on the cover of this registration statement, is a Delaware limited liability company. Prior to the effectiveness of this registration statement, PET Acquisition LLC will convert into a Delaware corporation pursuant to a statutory conversion and change its name to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. as described in the section captioned “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion” of the accompanying prospectus. As a result of the Corporate Conversion, the members of PET Acquisition LLC will become holders of the common stock of Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. Except as disclosed in the prospectus, the historical consolidated financial statements and selected historical consolidated financial data and other financial information included in this registration statement are those of PET Acquisition LLC, and do not give effect to the Corporate Conversion. Shares of the Class A common stock of Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. are being offered by the prospectus included in this registration statement.


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The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities, and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED DECEMBER 3, 2020

Preliminary Prospectus

            Shares

 

 

LOGO

Class A Common Stock

 

 

This is the initial public offering of the Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share, of Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. We are offering              shares of our Class A common stock.

Currently, no public market exists for our Class A common stock. We expect the initial public offering price will be between $             and $            per share. We have applied to list our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “WOOF.”

After giving effect to the Corporate Conversion (as defined herein) and the completion of this offering, we will have three classes of common stock: Class A common stock; Class B-1 common stock; and Class B-2 common stock. The rights of the holders of our Class A common stock and our Class B-1 common stock are identical in all respects, except that our Class B-1 common stock does not vote on the election or removal of our directors. The rights of the holders of our Class B-2 common stock differ from the rights of the holders of our Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock in that holders of our Class B-2 common stock only possess the right to vote on the election or removal of our directors. Following the completion of this offering, we will be a “controlled company” as defined under the corporate governance rules of Nasdaq because our Sponsors (as defined herein) will continue to collectively control approximately     % of the voting power of our common stock with respect to director elections (or approximately     % of the voting power with respect to director elections if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock). Please read “Management—Status as a Controlled Company.”

 

 

INVESTING IN OUR CLASS A COMMON STOCK INVOLVES RISKS, INCLUDING THOSE DESCRIBED IN THE “RISK FACTORS” SECTION BEGINNING ON PAGE 21 OF THIS PROSPECTUS.

 

 

 

     Per Share      Total  

Initial public offering price

   $                  $              

Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)

   $                  $              

Proceeds, before expenses, to us

   $                  $              

 

(1)

Please read “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)” for a description of all underwriting compensation payable in connection with this offering.

At our request, BofA Securities, Inc., a participating underwriter, has reserved for sale, at the initial public offering price, up to 5% of the shares offered by this prospectus for sale to certain of our directors, officers, and employees. If these persons purchase reserved shares it will reduce the number of shares available for sale to the general public. Any reserved shares that are not so purchased will be offered by the underwriters to the general public on the same terms as the other shares offered by this prospectus. For more information regarding the directed share program, please read “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)—Directed Share Program.”

The underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional                  shares of our Class A common stock at the public offering price, less the underwriting discounts.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

Delivery of our Class A common stock is expected to be made on or about                     , 2020 through the book-entry facilities of The Depository Trust Company.

 

 

 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC   BofA Securities

 

Citigroup    Evercore ISI   Credit Suisse   UBS Investment Bank    Wells Fargo Securities

 

Baird     Guggenheim Securities

Prospectus dated                    , 2020


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

NOTE ON THE PRESENTATION

     ii  

TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS

     ii  

INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA

     ii  

A LETTER FROM PETCO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RON COUGHLIN

     iii  

SUMMARY

     1  

RISK FACTORS

     21  

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     53  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     55  

DIVIDEND POLICY

     56  

RECAPITALIZATION AND CORPORATE CONVERSION

     57  

CAPITALIZATION

     59  

DILUTION

     61  

SELECTED HISTORICAL CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

     63  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

     69  

BUSINESS

     90  

MANAGEMENT

     112  

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

     120  

PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

     146  

DESCRIPTION OF INDEBTEDNESS

     149  

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     151  

DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK

     154  

SHARES ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE SALE

     161  

CERTAIN U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES TO NON-U.S. HOLDERS

     163  

UNDERWRITING (CONFLICTS OF INTEREST)

     168  

LEGAL MATTERS

     175  

EXPERTS

     176  

CHANGE IN AUDITOR

     176  

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

     177  

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     F-1  

We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized any other person to provide you with information different from that contained in this prospectus and any free writing prospectus authorized by us. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We are not, and the underwriters are not, making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where an offer or sale is not permitted. The information in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of our Class A common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects may have changed since that date.

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Please read “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

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NOTE ON THE PRESENTATION

Unless otherwise indicated, (i) references in this prospectus to “Petco,” “our company,” “we,” “our,” and “us,” or like terms, refer, prior to the Corporate Conversion discussed elsewhere in this prospectus, to PET Acquisition LLC and our subsidiaries, and after the Corporate Conversion, to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries taken as a whole, and (ii) “Petco Animal Supplies” refers to Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., our wholly owned subsidiary. Unless the context otherwise requires, references to “common stock” refer to our Class A common stock, our Class B-1 common stock and our Class B-2 common stock, collectively. References to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws are to our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our second amended and restated bylaws, respectively, each of which will become effective upon completion of this offering.

We report on the basis of a 52- or 53-week fiscal year, which ends on the Saturday closest to January 31. References to “fiscal year” mean the year in which that fiscal year began. For example, references to Fiscal 2019 refer to the fiscal year beginning February 3, 2019 and ending February 1, 2020. Please read “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data” for more information regarding the presentation of our fiscal years.

TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS

We own or have rights to various trademarks, service marks, and trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our business. The following trademarks are registered or pending registration: Bond & Co., Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, and You & Me. This prospectus may also contain trademarks, service marks, and trade names of third parties, which are the property of their respective owners. Our use or display of a third party’s trademarks, service marks, trade names, or products in this prospectus is not intended to, and does not imply, a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship by, us. Solely for convenience, the trademarks, service marks, and trade names referred to in this prospectus may appear without the ®, TM, or SM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the right of the applicable licensor to these trademarks, service marks, and trade names.

INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA

This prospectus includes market data and forecasts with respect to the pet care industry. Although we are responsible for all of the disclosure contained in this prospectus, in some cases we rely on and refer to market data and certain industry forecasts that were obtained from third-party surveys, market research, consultant surveys, publicly available information and industry publications and surveys that we believe to be reliable. Unless otherwise indicated, all market and industry data and other statistical information and forecasts contained in this prospectus are based on independent industry publications, government publications, reports by market research firms or other published independent sources, such as the American Pet Products Association (study entitled “Pet Industry Market Size and Ownership Statistics” published in August 2015), Bureau of Economic Analysis, Lippincott, Nielsen, and Packaged Facts, and other externally obtained data that we believe to be reliable. Some market and industry data, and statistical information and forecasts, are also based on management’s estimates, which are derived from our review of internal surveys as well as the independent sources referred to above. Any such market data, information or forecast may prove to be inaccurate because of the method by which we obtain it or because it cannot always be verified with complete certainty given the limits on the availability and reliability of raw data, the voluntary nature of the data gathering process, and other limitations and uncertainties, including those discussed under the caption “Risk Factors.” As a result, although we believe that these sources are reliable, we have not independently verified the information.

 

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A LETTER FROM PETCO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RON COUGHLIN

I am pleased to introduce you to a profoundly new Petco that’s redefining the pet care industry and generating a compelling growth trajectory.

Over time, family pets have become a more meaningful and valued part of our lives, and have made their way from the backyard, to inside our homes, to their own and in many cases our own beds. Today, pets are considered family members by 94 percent of pet parents. Similarly, since our founding in 1965, Petco has grown from a local veterinary supplies shop to a disruptive, fully integrated, digital-led, comprehensive pet care ecosystem that puts the health and wellness of pets first. Today, we are a complete partner to pet parents, providing expertise, some of the world’s most nutritious pet foods, and the supplies, services, and healthcare our pets need to thrive. Unlike our competitors, we literally provide it all in an integrated fashion: premium food, supplies, grooming, training, and a full-service veterinary platform. Additionally, we do it all seamlessly across digital and physical worlds.

Today, Petco is the ONLY complete health and wellness company for pets.

With a world-class management team filled with some of the best minds from digital, retail, and consumer brands, a unified corporate strategy, and renewed clarity in our mission – we set out on a journey to reignite the passion for pet wellness that’s been in our DNA for more than 55 years. With this as our foundation, our business transformation has focused on driving a differentiated merchandise strategy, building sticky services, and completely revamping our digital offerings underpinned by data, analytics, marketing prowess and fired up Petco partners. These focus areas have generated attractive top- and bottom-line growth that generates the momentum for compelling long-term growth and profitability.

We are aggressively acquiring customers, as well as building and retaining these relationships. Our digital business has been growing at a strong rate since 2019 and is gaining share with millions of new customers flocking to our unique digital capabilities on both Petco.com and the Petco mobile app. We have formidable Owned Brands, such as the premium nutrition at value WholeHearted brand and fashion-forward Reddy brand, as well as premium partner brands such as Orijen, Acana, and Taste of the Wild. Our 1,470 brick and mortar pet care centers – which serve as hubs for BOPUS, Curbside Pickup, and sticky services like grooming and training – are growing too. And our ability to leverage these locations as mini distribution centers staffed by passionate and knowledgeable partners gives us a powerful competitive advantage. Add to that an aggressive veterinary hospital build out, mobile vaccination clinics and tele-vet, as well as recurring revenue from membership and insurance offerings, and Petco is firing on all cylinders.

Together, the Petco team is on a mission to improve lives. For pets, their parents, and for the over 26,000 partners who work here. And, to create a fast-growing, profitable company differentiated from its brick & mortar, online, and mass competitors.

In 2018, we announced a commitment to stop selling all dog and cat food and treats that contain artificial ingredients, a move that solidified our nutrition leadership in the industry and opened the door to partnerships with premium, exclusive brands that are typically only found in specialty channels. In October 2020, we upended the industry again by removing shock collars from our shelves and broadly advocating for and expanding access to Positive Training. During the pandemic, we’ve prioritized safety above all else, and we remain committed to serving the growing number of pets and pet parents who count on us to deliver for them in more safe and convenient ways than ever. We’ve seen the total addressable market grow significantly this year, and demand for new pets shows no sign of waning. Suffice it to say, our business was strong before the pandemic, accelerated during the pandemic, and we expect it to continue to grow at an accelerated rate long after the pandemic passes.

 

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At every turn, we’ve stayed true to our shared belief that what’s best for pets is always best for Petco.

Particularly during these challenging times, pets are an important source of comfort and joy. Studies show that over 3.3 million pets entered U.S. households this year alone and we look forward to feeding, training, grooming, equipping, and providing world-class veterinary care for many of these new family members for years to come. Together, we’re making massive, positive impacts on pets, pet parents, our partners, and the communities we serve – and our strategy is delivering results. This combination of contribution to life betterment and drive for world class results epitomizes what we call “Purpose-Driven Performance.”

I’m incredibly proud of the journey Petco is on, and I’m grateful and humbled to be part of the family that’s orchestrated Petco’s resurgence as the only comprehensive health and wellness company for pets. As you dig in here, you’ll learn why I’m confident this is just the beginning, and why I believe our future is brighter than ever. And I hope you’ll join us.

Ron Coughlin, Chief Executive Officer

 

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SUMMARY

This summary provides a brief overview of information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. The following summary is qualified in its entirety by, and should be read in conjunction with, the more detailed information and financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in our Class A common stock. In addition to this summary, we urge you to read the entire prospectus carefully, including the information set forth under “Risk Factors,” “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and the historical consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Our Mission

We love pets. We are a purpose-driven company dedicated to improving the lives of pets, their parents, and the partners who work for us. We are committed to being the leading, most trusted resource in pet care, providing a comprehensive portfolio of essential products and services with expert advice that addresses all aspects of pet health and wellness.

Our Company

We are a beloved brand in the U.S. pet care industry with more than 55 years of service to pets and the people who love and care for them. Since our founding in 1965, we have been developing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through our products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet-parent bond. Over the last three years, we have transformed the business from a successful traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully-integrated, digital-focused provider of pet health and wellness offerings. We revamped our leadership team and invested over $300 million to build out leading capabilities across e-commerce and digital, owned brands, data analytics, and a full suite of on-site services including veterinary care. Our investments have delivered a comprehensive, integrated, and technology-enabled ecosystem of channels and offerings, complemented by a rapid innovation capability that is disrupting the pet market and providing pet parents with a differentiated holistic solution for all their pet care needs. For more information regarding our transformation investments, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Innovation and Transformation.”

Our go-to-market strategy is powered by a multi-channel platform that integrates our strong digital presence with our nationwide physical network. Our data-driven digital footprint, consisting of an entirely redesigned e-commerce site and personalized mobile app, delivers an exceptional customer experience and serves as a hub for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By strategically leveraging our extensive physical network consisting of approximately 1,470 pet care centers located within three miles of 54% of our customers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of ship-from-store, buy-online, pick-up in-store (“BOPUS”), and curbside pick-up. This integrated, multi-channel approach clearly resonates with our customers, as the number of customers who engage with us across multiple channels has grown by 20% over the last three years. Further, these multi-channel customers spend between 3x to 6x more with us compared to single-channel customers. In the last 12 months ended October 31, 2020, we achieved approximately 80% retention of our multi-channel customers.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill all the needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages our owned brand portfolio and partnerships with premium third-party brands to deliver high



 

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quality food that avoids artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies. We augment this premier product offering with a broad suite of professional services, including grooming as well as in-store and online training. Our service offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, affordable veterinary service platform, which includes full-service, outpatient veterinary care service locations (“veterinary hospitals”), Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinarian services. In addition, we are increasingly linking our offerings with subscription programs such as membership and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our over 21 million Active Customers (as defined in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—How We Assess the Performance of Our Business”) as of October 31, 2020, with our Pals loyalty program members accounting for approximately 80% of transactions in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020. In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 23,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners provide important high-quality advice to our customers in our pet care centers. With our integrated platform and comprehensive offering, we provide a complete pet health and wellness ecosystem that drives engagement across our enterprise and creates life-long customer relationships.

Only Fully-Integrated and Comprehensive Pet Care Ecosystem

 

 

LOGO

Industry Dynamics

The U.S. pet care industry is a large, attractive growth market experiencing a significant acceleration in response to multiple secular themes. The industry serves more than 72 million households with pets and represents a total addressable market of $97 billion in 2020. Since 2008, the industry has grown at a 5% compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”), driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization. Due to the essential, consumable nature of pet care, the industry has demonstrated resilience across economic cycles. During the Great Recession, the industry delivered strong performance, growing at a CAGR of 6% from 2008 to 2010. With respect to our business, we are strategically focused on growing our presence in three of the fastest-growing areas of the market: services, e-commerce, and veterinary, which are projected to grow at 11%, 14%, and 9% CAGRs, respectively, from 2020 to 2024.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is experiencing a significant increase in demand that is expected to be a tailwind for years to come. According to Packaged Facts, the number



 

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of households with pets in the United States is expected to increase by 4% in 2020, creating an estimated $4 billion in incremental annual demand for pet care products. Given the long-term, recurring demand for pet care products and services, which is expected to continue to grow in response to the pet humanization trend, this step function increase in the pet population represents a meaningful acceleration in total industry growth from 5% historically to 7% through 2024, according to Packaged Facts and company internal estimates. As pet care demand continues to grow, we believe we are well-positioned to capture an outsized portion of the growing market as the only fully-integrated, comprehensive pet care provider in the industry.

 

 

U.S. Pet Care Industry CAGR

 

  

U.S. Pet Care Industry by Category

 

($ in billions, 2020 )

 

 

LOGO

  

LOGO

Source: Packaged Facts and company internal estimates.

   Source: Packaged Facts and company internal estimates.

Our Transformation

Three years ago, we saw several major opportunities to accelerate our business. First, customers were shifting online and we saw a meaningful opportunity to better leverage our differentiated strengths and physical network to benefit from this shift. Second, research showed that pet parents had multiple care needs across products and services, but they were confused and looking for a partner to help them navigate to the right health and wellness decisions. Third, we recognized a need to become much more analytical and operationally rigorous. Lastly, the organization required clear strategic direction following a period of transition and cost cutting. Over the past three years we have invested over $300 million to support our innovation and business transformation strategies. These investments include: digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; data analytical capabilities; veterinary services; marketing and advertising; and our owned brands. Our transformation actions were focused on the following major initiatives and investments:

 

   

assembled a next generation leadership team to drive transformation;

 

   

built leading e-commerce and digital capabilities that leverage our physical network;

 

   

reinvented grooming and training, and launched a full-service veterinary hospital network;

 

   

created a highly differentiated owned and exclusive product offering;

 

   

implemented a performance culture led by data analytics; and

 

   

attracted exceptional talent in key growth areas.



 

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For more information regarding our transformation investments, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Innovation and Transformation.”

Recent Financial Performance

Our business transformation initiatives, accelerated by an increase in pet ownership and a shift in customer discretionary spend on pets, have driven strong top- and bottom-line growth in our business. Comparing the first thirty-nine weeks of Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, we achieved the following results:

 

   

increase in net sales from $3.29 billion to $3.58 billion, representing period-over-period growth of 9.0%;

 

   

comparable sales growth of 9.6%;

 

   

increase in operating income from $69.5 million to $127.4 million, representing period-over-period growth of 83.5%;

 

   

a decrease in net loss attributable to members from $(88.7) million to $(20.3) million, representing a period-over-period improvement of 77.1%; and

 

   

an increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $292.6 million to $335.7 million, representing period-over-period growth of 14.7%.

For a description of our non-GAAP measures and reconciliations to their most comparable U.S. GAAP measures, please read the section titled “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

We consecutively grew net sales from $2.0 billion in Fiscal 2005 to $4.5 billion in Fiscal 2016. Following a period of decline from Fiscal 2016 through the third quarter of Fiscal 2018, our comparable sales growth has accelerated in the last eight quarters, during which we achieved the following results:

Quarterly Comparable Sales Growth

 

 

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Our Competitive Strengths

Category-Defining Brand with Long-Term Customer Relationships Built on Trust

Since our founding in 1965, we have focused on building long-term relationships with pet parents by providing an exceptional customer experience. Our top-of-mind awareness is among the highest in the industry, cited by 28% of customers as the first brand that comes to mind when asked to name a brand in pet products. Across our platform, we have a team of over 23,000 highly trained pet care experts who love animals and are passionate about sharing their expertise with pet parents. Through our people—such as digital experts, sales and engagement partners, groomers, trainers, companion animal experts, and veterinarians—we are able to build and maintain long-term, high-touch relationships with pet parents.

Our brand is consistently strengthened by the touchpoints we have with our customers across channels, products, and services. As of October 31, 2020, we served over 21 million Active Customers, with members of our Pals loyalty program representing approximately 80% of our transactions in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 and ranking among the largest loyalty programs in the industry. We leverage the data from our Pals program via in-store technology (including hand-held devices that our partners use to assist customers with shopping), content, and recommendations in a highly personalized manner. Our customer relationships are built on trust and supported by high customer affinity, as demonstrated by our average nine-out-of-ten Voice of Consumer rating in the first three quarters of Fiscal 2020.

The Only Fully-Integrated Comprehensive Offering of Pet Products and Services Nationwide

We provide the only fully-integrated comprehensive offering of pet care products and services that meet the needs of pet parents everywhere—something that none of our competitors currently offer.

Our product strategy is built around an extensive offering that features premium owned and partner brands known for quality and innovation. We offer leading varieties of wholesome, premium food that build upon our expertise in pet nutrition. For example, we proudly offer premium brands such as human-grade Just Food For Dogs, which are not widely available in other national pet specialty stores. In addition to food, we offer a wide range of pet supplies to meet the needs of pet parents. The combination of our differentiated food and supplies strategy, including owned and exclusive brands, has enabled us to offer a premium product offering, with more than 50% of our offering not available via online or mass competitors.

Our service offering consists of professional grooming, training, and veterinary services. In addition to acting as a profitable driver of new customer acquisition, our service platform helps retain and expand the yearly spend of existing customers, drive visit frequency and digital engagement, and build long-term loyalty.

Through our connected multi-channel ecosystem, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering across all channels to meet our customer wherever, whenever, and however they want to shop. During the nine months ended October 31, 2020, customers who shopped across the four channels we track for these purposes (pet care center merchandise, e-commerce and digital, grooming and training services, and veterinary services including veterinary hospitals and Vetco clinics) spent on average 6x with us versus customers who only shopped one of these channels. Demonstrating the impact of our comprehensive ecosystem on our pet care centers, our 90 pet care centers that offer grooming, training veterinary services, ship-from-store, and BOPUS generate on average 91% higher revenue, as measured over the last 12 months ended October 31, 2020, than that of our average pet care center in Fiscal 2017.



 

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Connected Ecosystem Combining Leading Digital Capabilities and a Strategic Physical Network

We have built a connected ecosystem comprising leading digital capabilities and a national physical network. Through our Petco.com website and Petco app, we offer premier digital navigation, speed, assortment, market-based pricing, content, and personalization features. Through our physical network, we have the ability to consistently fulfill and deliver a growing assortment of products directly to consumers in addition to convenient offerings such as BOPUS and curbside pick-up. Our physical proximity to our customers also provides us a significant last-mile cost advantage relative to competitors. In the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, approximately 80% of Petco.com orders were fulfilled by our pet care centers, either as ship-from-store, BOPUS, or curbside pick-up. Additionally, we have experienced increasing pet care center sales through our Petco app since its launch, with many pet parents electing to take advantage of BOPUS and curbside pick-up for their orders. For customers seeking even greater convenience, we offer repeat delivery options that facilitate recurring purchases. Our repeat delivery revenue stream increased 13% in Fiscal 2019, and for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, BOPUS purchases and repeat deliveries of products accounted for 61% of Petco.com sales. Finally, we continually leverage our digital capabilities to innovate, such as online booking of grooming appointments, convenient at-home services like on-line training, and mobile grooming. Our connected ecosystem provides us with a singular view of our customer, which fuels our highly effective performance marketing function to drive repeat visits and grow customer lifetime value. For the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, we achieved a Petco.com customer retention rate that was 12% higher than that of the prior year period.

Rapidly Growing Veterinary Services Offering Stack

According to Packaged Facts, more than 70% of pet owners have concerns about the affordability of veterinary healthcare. In response, we have established a differentiated and highly scalable, affordable veterinary healthcare service platform that consists of our full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinary services. In Fiscal 2019, we serviced over 400,000 customers through our veterinary offering platform.

We are rapidly expanding our full-service veterinary hospitals across the country to provide expanded service coverage. By integrating these veterinary hospitals into existing pet care centers, we benefit from significant structural advantages compared to existing veterinary care providers, positioning us to deliver a more affordable solution to our customers. Through our digitally enabled approach, we offer competitive and affordable exam fees, supported by convenient online appointment scheduling, text reminders and weekend booking availability. We have experienced strong early success from our veterinary hospital strategy driven by highly compelling unit economics. Our veterinary hospitals have historically required approximately $600,000 in build-out costs and generate four-wall profitability by year two. We target sales and four-wall EBITDA margins at maturity of approximately $1.5 million and 20%, respectively. The ability for customers to conveniently purchase health-related products, including prescription food, at the time of a veterinary appointment creates a strong complementary relationship in an under-penetrated category for Petco. Despite reducing the total selling square footage of an existing pet center when we add a veterinary hospital, we experience a sales uplift in merchandise and non-veterinary services. Average non-veterinary sales increased by approximately 600 basis points in the first year of veterinary hospital operations. Additionally, sales of prescription food, which require an on-site veterinary hospital, are currently averaging an incremental $1,000 of sales per week per pet care center. Our recent introduction of Petco Vital Care Membership, a subscription program that provides access to our holistic health and wellness offering, and Petco Insurance leverage our growing veterinary services network to provide incremental benefits and convenience for customers.



 

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Industry-Leading Grooming and Training Business Driving Recurring Trip Frequency

Leveraging our strategic physical network, we have built one of the largest grooming and training businesses in the pet care industry. These essential services drive recurring visits into our pet care centers, allowing us to earn a greater share of wallet from our customers, as demonstrated by the fact that over the past three years our service customers tend to spend 2x as much with us compared to our non-service customers.

In our grooming business, we served over 2 million pets across approximately 1,350 of our pet care centers during Fiscal 2019. We are building on the success of our investment strategy with the addition of new elements such as our “Spa Club” grooming loyalty program, breed-specific marketing, and mobile grooming. Spa Club has helped drive a 14% improvement in customer retention rate between the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2018 and the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2019.

In our training business, we served over 180,000 pets across approximately 1,470 pet care centers during Fiscal 2019. Because training is generally conducted at an early stage in a pet’s life, this offering is a strategic customer acquisition tool to engender long-term loyalty with new pet parents. We continue to focus on augmenting our core in-store training offering with the launch of at-home and online training classes. In Fiscal 2019, on average, our training customers spent 3.3x more with us than our non-training customers.

Premier Owned Brand Product Development and Innovation Platform

We operate a leading, owned brand portfolio that has grown rapidly and is highly accretive to our product gross margins, typically driving a margin rate that is between 1,500 and 2,000 basis points higher than comparable third-party brands. Our extensive direct customer relationships provide us with insights that allow us to identify unmet customer needs and trends and rapidly build products and services around those needs. We have an established infrastructure for developing, launching, and fostering growth in owned brand products, including an in-house packaged goods insights function, experienced fashion leadership, and a dedicated sourcing office in Asia.

Over the last three years, we have demonstrated the speed and depth of our innovation platform through the launch of 89 new brands and 5,000 new products. In 2016, we launched our first major proprietary pet food brand, WholeHearted, which features a premium ingredient panel, an attractive price point, quality packaging, and authentic branding that effectively targets millennial pet parents. In Fiscal 2019, we launched Reddy, our proprietary supplies brand that features premium fabrics and urban contemporary styling appealing to fashion-focused pet parents. We also believe our Well & Good brand has similar potential to tap into customer demand for premium wellness products. Sales of our owned brand portfolio have grown at a 14% CAGR between Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2019, and for Fiscal 2019, our owned brands generated sales of $1.1 billion, or approximately 27% of total product sales, up from 17% of product sales in Fiscal 2015.

Best-in-Pet Technology Capabilities

We have developed the ability to compete with the best-in-class innovation capabilities of our competitors. We invested over $150 million over the past three years in our digital systems and recruited leading digital talent, employing over 100 technology and analytics experts organized in rapid deployment “squad” structures linked to major areas like e-commerce, services, and customer relationship management (“CRM”). Our operating experience and insights enable us to develop, test, and scale solutions in a rapid innovation cycle. We also seek to leverage our existing assets and advantages in the market to ensure our innovation implementations are not easily replicable by the competition. In the last 24 months, we have launched new programs, such as curbside pick-up, online dog training, an online food coach, our complete pet wellness app, pet medical record consolidation,



 

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and Petco Vital Care Membership. Our ability to leverage our physical network has been a distinct competitive advantage. We believe our advanced innovation capabilities provide us with insights and opportunities to continue to enhance customer engagement, rapidly improve our offerings, and expand into new product and service lines faster and better than competitors.

Highly Experienced and Proven Management Team

We have an experienced and proven management team of successful retail, consumer, and technology industry veterans and a deep bench of talent supporting our emerging services, e-commerce, and omni-channel competencies.

 

   

Our Chief Executive Officer, Ron Coughlin, who has been with Petco for over two years, brings 11 years of experience at HP, including eight as Division President, and 13 years of marketing experience at PepsiCo where he left as a Chief Marketing Officer

 

   

Our Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Michael Nuzzo, actively oversees our supply chain and our services and veterinary businesses, after joining us in 2015, and has over 20 years of experience managing financial and operational strategy at leading public and private retail companies, including GNC and Abercrombie & Fitch

 

   

Our Chief Digital & Innovation Officer, Darren MacDonald, brings critical e-commerce experience, having built one of the leading global e-commerce platforms during his prior roles at Walmart and Jet.com, and having developed one of the most trafficked online shopping comparison engines as CEO of Pronto Network, an IAC company

 

   

Our Chief Pet Care Center Officer, Justin Tichy, offers deep field experience with leading store teams at public retail companies, including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart

 

   

Our Chief Merchandising Officer, Nick Konat, brings leading consumer and retail expertise from managing merchandising strategies at Target as well as from his experience as a consultant at Accenture

 

   

Our Chief Human Resources Officer, Michelle Bonfilio, has prior experience in the pet industry and senior human resources roles with leading public retailers, including The Gap and Williams Sonoma

 

   

Our Chief Information and Administrative Offer, John Zavada, brings valuable information technology experience, formerly serving as CIO of Restoration Hardware and L Brands, among others

 

   

Our Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Ilene Eskenazi, brings over 20 years of legal experience from leading retail, apparel, and consumer packaged goods companies, having served as general counsel for other leading global brands such as Red Bull and True Religion

 

   

Our Chief Marketing Officer, Tariq Hassan, brings significant marketing, brand management and communications experience, having served in leadership roles at Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard Company (now HP Inc.)

The balance of the senior team has experience from a host of high caliber companies.

Our Growth Strategies

Building upon our success to date, we see a significant opportunity to drive long-term growth across our business by executing on the following growth strategies:

Continue to Acquire New Customers and Drive Engagement Across All our Channels.

 

   

Acquire New Customers: Strong secular trends in the industry are introducing new pet parents to the category. We are distinctively positioned to acquire new customers through our



 

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effective marketing, e-commerce engagement, new pet programs, Pals loyalty program, Petco app, and sticky services offerings, as well as our strategic physical network, which provides a low-cost acquisition and powerful brand awareness vehicle. As one of the most recognizable brands in the industry and the only fully-integrated complete solution for all pet health and wellness needs, we are distinctively positioned to successfully acquire new customers looking for the best first stop as new pet parents.

 

   

Increase Engagement and Monetization Across All Channels and Offerings: Our multi-channel and multi-category customers represent our highest yearly and lifetime value spend levels and will be a meaningful contributor to our future growth. During the 12 months ended October 31, 2020, we achieved approximately 80% retention of our multi-channel customers. Over that same period, customers who engage with us across two or more channels spend on average 2.8x as much as our single-channel customers spend, and those who engage with us across three or more channels and all four channels spend on average 4.4x to 6.4x as much, respectively. We plan to drive these spend levels higher as we scale our e-commerce platform and full-service veterinary hospitals. Further, we believe we have an embedded opportunity to significantly grow the value of our active customer base by attracting customers to additional channels, leveraging our comprehensive health and wellness offering, in-store cross-selling, Petco app, advanced CRM capabilities, and subscription programs like repeat delivery, which directly facilitate multi-channel purchases.

Relative Spend by Customer Type (Indexed to Single-Channel Customer)

 

 

LOGO

Source: Company data; customer spend data are as of the 12 months ended October 31, 2020; during the 12 months ended October 31, 2020, our average single-channel customer spent approximately $150.

Note: Channels consist of pet care center merchandise, e-commerce and digital, grooming and training services, and veterinary services.

 

   

Maximize Customer Engagement and Loyalty with Subscription Programs: Beyond our repeat delivery program, we have only begun to capitalize on subscription revenue opportunities, including through the recent launches of additional value-add subscription programs:

 

   

Petco Vital Care Membership: an annual fee-based membership program that provides preferred access to our holistic health and wellness offering across products, grooming, and veterinary care;

 

   

PupBox: a service that provides monthly shipments of premium food, treats, and merchandise to puppy parents; and

 

   

Petco Insurance: an annual service that provides affordable, full-service pet health coverage with added pet product and services perquisites not offered by traditional insurance company plans.



 

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All three programs have experienced strong initial customer reception to date. While these programs are relatively nascent, we are excited by the opportunity to bring together our product and service offerings under subscription programs that we believe will positively impact the customer experience while providing us with an attractive revenue stream from subscription businesses.

Continue to Grow Our Digital Business.

We intend to leverage our fully-integrated ecosystem, high-performance website and mobile app experience, fulfilment cost advantages, and differentiated services offerings to capitalize on the continued strong growth of e-commerce in the pet industry. In particular, we expect the continued expansion of BOPUS and curbside pick-up, which we are able to offer profitably given our strategic physical network, to allow us to substantially grow e-commerce sales while maintaining a leading customer fulfillment proposition. Our ability to connect our online platform with our in-person offerings, such as grooming, training, and veterinary care, creates a “flywheel” that drives greater online visits, which in turn create more opportunities for cross-selling other products and services. By leveraging our technology and operational assets, we plan to continue delivering innovation and new multi-channel offerings with a goal of meeting or exceeding overall pet e-commerce industry growth, as well as increasing our e-commerce penetration.

Expand Our Health & Wellness Services.

 

   

Rapid Expansion of our Differentiated Veterinary Services:    Veterinary care is one of the fastest-growing categories in the pet industry and one of our key strategic priorities. Through our comprehensive veterinary offering stack and affordable care positioning, we are disrupting the industry and intend to gain market share by expanding on our proven, replicable model of offering affordable, high-quality veterinary services to pet parents everywhere. We have experienced strong results from the 105 full-service veterinary hospitals currently open and plan to continue to add 60 to 70 hospitals per year to new, relocated, and remodeled pet care centers as we execute on a 900+ location white space. We also have the opportunity to utilize tele-veterinary services to grow the revenue base of our hospitals through convenient online appointments. Outside of our full-service veterinary hospitals, we are expanding our Vetco clinic business both within Petco and through partnerships with other retail partners. We believe that through our affordable, convenient, and tech-enabled veterinary proposition, we are well-positioned to capture increasing share in the attractive veterinary services market while driving overall share of customer wallet by marketing and cross-selling our non-veterinary offerings.

 

   

Continue to Grow Our Core Grooming and Training Businesses:    The grooming and training markets are highly fragmented and offer us an opportunity to meaningfully grow our market share. Grooming is a large addressable market in the United States, representing approximately $3 billion in 2020, according to Packaged Facts. Relative to our competitors, our scale and digital capabilities, such as convenient online scheduling, provide us with a compelling advantage. In our grooming business, we have an opportunity to increase productivity by adding staff to meet elevated customer demand, selling higher priced service packages, and adding mobile grooming capabilities to capture demand for at-home services. In our training business, we have a multi-year growth opportunity with our recently expanded offerings beyond our standard in-store group classes, including private, one-on-one classes both in-store and at-home, as well as online training classes taught by our elite trainers.

Drive Product Sales with Emphasis on Owned Brand Innovation and Exclusive Brands.

We have a significant opportunity to leverage our differentiated owned brand development and innovation capabilities to accelerate growth of our leading owned brand portfolio, which has



 

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experienced growth at a CAGR of 14% between Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2019. During Fiscal 2019, our owned brand business accounted for $1.1 billion of sales, or 27% of total product sales, driven by the success of our WholeHearted and recently launched Reddy brands, and our exclusive and differentiated product offerings accounted for $1.7 billion of sales, or 43%, of total product sales. Looking ahead, owned brands are a key strategic priority for us as we will leverage consumer insights to drive continued innovation in our offerings across food and supplies in a manner that is differentiated relative to our competitors. Additionally, we intend to grow our brand portfolio through new partnerships with premium brands in the industry, as well as expanding existing partnerships, such as a broader rollout of Just Food For Dogs pantries and on-site kitchens. Our differentiated food and supplies offering is a key driver of customer loyalty and stickiness, with more than 50% of our offering not available in online or mass competitors.

Leverage Category Capabilities to Expand Our Offerings and Geographies.

Our journey is just beginning. Our fully-integrated multi-channel ecosystem provides us with tremendous data and insights, as well as the ability to continually innovate and add new capabilities and offerings. We plan to continue to add to our service offerings with new elements of our breed-specific at-home and online training classes. In the subscription offering area, we are planning initiatives in proprietary credit card, membership, and wellness programs. Within our technology platform, we plan to build upon our strong momentum to rapidly innovate and roll out new capabilities.

Internationally, we see significant opportunity to deploy our comprehensive model to expand our presence in new markets. We will leverage the success of our joint venture with Grupo Gigante in Mexico, where we have over 80 locations, and our wholesale partnership with Canadian Tire in Canada, where we have Petco products in approximately 450 locations, including the initial launch and build-out of dedicated Petco shop-in-shops, to continue to grow in these geographies. Looking ahead, we also see a meaningful opportunity to pursue a wholesale distribution approach like with Canadian Tire in new international geographies in Central and South America, Europe, and Asia.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Business

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the economy including employment, consumer spending patterns, living and working conditions, and the viability of certain business sectors. Market data indicates that with more of the working population staying home, there has been an increase in pet ownership and the percentage of disposable income spent on home-related goods and services, including pet care. This macroeconomic trend is favorably impacting our business results to date, but the possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic, and any government response thereto, increases the uncertainty regarding future economic conditions that will impact our business in the future. For more information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Business.”

Summary of Risks Related to Our Business

An investment in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. Among these important risks are the following:

 

   

A decline in consumer spending or a change in consumer preferences or demographics could reduce our sales or profitability and adversely affect our business.

 

   

The growth of our business depends in part on our ability to accurately predict consumer trends, successfully introduce new products and services, improve existing products and services, and expand into new offerings.



 

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Our continued success is substantially dependent on positive perceptions of Petco, including our owned or exclusive brands.

 

   

Competition in the markets in which we operate, including internet-based competition, is strong and if we are unable to compete effectively, our ability to generate sales may suffer and our operating income and net income could decline.

 

   

We may be unable to execute our growth strategies successfully or manage and sustain our growth and, as a result, our business may be adversely affected.

 

   

We may experience difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians due to shortages that could disrupt our business.

 

   

We face various risks as an e-commerce retailer.

 

   

If we fail to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth strategies, we may be unable to sustain our growth and our business may be adversely affected.

 

   

We depend on key personnel, and if we lose the services of any of our principal executive officers, we may not be able to run our business effectively.

 

   

The loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of any of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors, would negatively impact our business.

 

   

We face various risks related to health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

 

   

A disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion, or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses, which could harm our sales and profitability.

 

   

Our reputation and business may be harmed if our or our vendors’ computer network security or any of the databases containing customer, employee, or other personal information maintained by us or our third-party providers is compromised, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

 

   

If our information systems or infrastructure fail to perform as designed or are interrupted for a significant period of time, our business could be adversely affected.

 

   

Pet food safety, quality, and health concerns could adversely affect our business.

 

   

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flows and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under existing debt agreements.

 

   

Our Sponsors will continue to have significant influence over us after this offering, including control over decisions that require the approval of stockholders, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to stockholders for a vote.

 

   

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules and, as a result, expect to qualify for, and intend to rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.

You should carefully read and consider the information set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” beginning on page 21 and the other information in this prospectus for an explanation of these risks before investing in our Class A common stock.

Our Sponsors

We are currently controlled by Scooby LP, which is directly and/or indirectly owned by certain funds (the “CVC Funds”) that are advised and/or managed by CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”), CPP



 

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Investments, a Canadian company (together with its affiliates, “CPP Investments” and together with the CVC Funds, our “Sponsors”), and certain co-investors. Prior to the completion of this offering, Scooby LP will transfer our equity that it holds to a newly formed and wholly owned subsidiary (our “Principal Stockholder”).

Our Sponsors acquired their direct and indirect interests in us in connection with our formation and as contemplated by that certain Agreement and Plan of Merger, executed in November 2015 (the “Merger Agreement”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, in January 2016, a wholly owned subsidiary of ours (“Merger Sub”) was merged with and into Petco Holdings, Inc. with Petco Holdings, Inc. surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of ours and converting from a Delaware corporation to a Delaware limited liability company. Following the closing of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement, we directly owned and controlled Petco Holdings, Inc. LLC. The transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement were partially financed by the Floating Rate Senior Notes (as defined herein) issued by Merger Sub in a private placement offering. Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. subsequently assumed the obligations of Merger Sub under the Floating Rate Senior Notes. Further, in connection with the merger, we issued the 3.00% Senior Notes (as defined herein) to certain equityholders, including Scooby LP, as a means of facilitating a potential distribution of cash to such equityholders. To facilitate this offering, as described below, our equityholders have elected to contribute such notes to us in exchange for additional equity.

After giving effect to the Corporate Conversion and the completion of this offering, our Sponsors will control         % of the outstanding voting power of our company. For more information on our ownership of our common stock by our principal stockholders and the voting and economic rights associated with each class of our common stock, please read “Principal Stockholders” and “Description of Capital Stock,” respectively.

Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion

Prior to the completion of this offering, all of the 3.00% Senior Notes will be contributed to us and canceled, and substantially contemporaneously with the completion of this offering a portion of the Floating Rate Senior Notes of Petco Animal Supplies will be partially exchanged for indebtedness of our Principal Stockholder, with such Floating Rate Senior Notes contributed to us by our Principal Stockholder and canceled. These transactions, which we refer to collectively as the “Recapitalization,” will have the net effect of reducing our indebtedness and increasing our stockholders’ equity. For more information regarding this indebtedness, please read “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion” and Note 9 to the historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

We currently operate as a Delaware limited liability company under the name PET Acquisition LLC. Prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, PET Acquisition LLC will convert into a Delaware corporation pursuant to a statutory conversion and change its name to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. In this prospectus, we refer to all of the transactions related to our conversion to a corporation described above as the “Corporate Conversion.” For more information regarding our conversion to a corporation, please read “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion.”



 

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The following diagram indicates our simplified ownership structure immediately following this offering and the transactions related thereto (assuming that the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is not exercised):

 

LOGO

 

 

 

(1)

Scooby LP is directly and/or indirectly owned by our Sponsors and certain co-investors and is controlled by our Sponsors.

(2)

Prior to the completion of this offering, 9314601 Canada Inc. will transfer all of its shares of Class B-2 common stock to a wholly owned subsidiary. For more information, please read footnote (6) to the table in “Principal Stockholders.”

(3)

Prior to the completion of this offering, CVC Pet LP will transfer all of its shares of Class B-2 common stock to a wholly owned subsidiary. For more information, please read footnote (5) to the table in “Principal Stockholders.”

(4)

For more information on the percentage ownership of our common stock and the voting and economic rights associated with each class of our common stock, please read “Principal Stockholders” and “Description of Capital Stock,” respectively.

Corporate Information and Structure

PET Acquisition LLC is a Delaware limited liability company. Prior to the effectiveness of the registration of which this prospectus forms a part, we will convert into a Delaware corporation pursuant to a statutory conversion and be renamed Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. Please read the section captioned “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion.” Our principal executive offices are



 

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located at 10850 Via Frontera, San Diego, California 92127, and our telephone number at that address is (858) 453-7845. Our only material asset is the indirect ownership of 100% of the equity of Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc., a Delaware corporation, through which we conduct all of our business. Our website is www.petco.com. We expect to make our periodic reports and other information filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, available, free of charge, through our website, as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports and other information are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information on our website or any other website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and does not constitute a part of this prospectus.

Our Controlled Company Status

Because our Sponsors will control                  shares of Class A common stock and                  shares of Class B-2 common stock, which are the only classes of our common stock entitled to vote on director elections and which represent in the aggregate approximately                % of the voting power with respect to director elections, we expect to be a controlled company as of the completion of this offering under the Nasdaq rules. A controlled company is not required to have a majority of independent directors or form an independent compensation or nominating and corporate governance committee. As a controlled company, we will remain subject to rules that require us to have an audit committee composed entirely of independent directors, subject to the “phase-in” rules applicable to newly public companies. Under the “phase-in” rules, we are required to have at least three independent directors on our audit committee within one year of the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. We expect to have                  independent directors upon the completion of this offering. Please read “Management—Status as a Controlled Company.”



 

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The Offering

 

Class A common stock offered by us

            shares (             shares if the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full)

 

Class A common stock to be outstanding after this offering

            shares (             shares if the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full)

 

Voting rights

Shares of our Class A common stock will be entitled to one vote per share on all matters presented to our stockholders generally. Holders of our Class B-1 common stock will not be entitled to vote in the election or removal of directors. Holders of our Class B-2 common stock will only have the right to vote in the election or removal of directors. Our Sponsors will beneficially own all outstanding shares of Class B-1 common stock and Class B-2 common stock.

 

Conversion rights

Each share of Class A common stock will be convertible into one share of Class B-1 common stock and one share of Class B-2 common stock at any time and from time to time, at the option of the holder, so long as such holder holds one or more shares of Class B-1 common stock or Class B-2 common stock at the time of conversion. Each share of our Class B-1 common stock will be convertible into one share of Class A common stock at the option of the holder. As a condition to such conversion, the holder of the shares of Class B-1 common stock to be converted must direct a holder of Class B-2 common stock to transfer an equal number of shares to our company. No public stockholders will have conversion rights because they will not be eligible to hold shares of Class B-1 common stock or Class B-2 common stock.

 

Use of proceeds

We expect to receive approximately $         million of net proceeds from this offering (or $         million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock), based upon the assumed initial public offering price of $         per share (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to pay the accrued but unpaid interest on the exchanged Floating Rate Senior Notes and to redeem in full the remaining $300 million aggregate principal amount, plus accrued but



 

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unpaid interest, of the Floating Rate Senior Notes that remain outstanding after the Recapitalization and the remainder of the proceeds, plus cash on hand, to repay a portion of the term loan facility (as defined herein).

 

Conflicts of interest

Certain affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC (the “GS Noteholders”) hold a portion of the Floating Rate Senior Notes. The GS Noteholders receive interest payments and, upon the redemption of the Floating Rate Notes, will receive a pro rata portion of the redemption payment. Because the GS Noteholders will receive 5% or more of the net proceeds of this offering, Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC is deemed to have a conflict of interest within the meaning of Rule 5121 of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”). Accordingly, this offering will be conducted in compliance with Rule 5121, which requires, among other things, that a “qualified independent underwriter” participate in the preparation of, and exercise the usual standards of “due diligence” with respect to, the registration statement and this prospectus. BofA Securities, Inc. (“BofA”) has agreed to act as a qualified independent underwriter for this offering and to undertake the legal responsibilities and liabilities of an underwriter under the Securities Act, as amended (the “Securities Act”), specifically including those inherent in Section 11 thereof. BofA will not receive any additional fees for serving as a qualified independent underwriter in connection with this offering. We have agreed to indemnify BofA against liabilities incurred in connection with acting as a qualified independent underwriter, including liabilities under the Securities Act. Please read “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)—Conflicts of Interest.”

 

Dividend policy

We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our Class A common stock in the near future. In addition, our credit facilities place certain restrictions on our ability to pay cash dividends. Please read “Dividend Policy.”

 

Listing and trading symbol

We have applied to list our Class A common stock on Nasdaq under the symbol “WOOF.”

 

Risk factors

You should carefully read and consider the information set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” and all other information set forth in this prospectus before deciding to invest in our Class A common stock.

 

Directed Share Program

At our request, BofA Securities, Inc., a participating underwriter, has reserved for sale,



 

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at the initial public offering price, up to 5% of the shares offered by this prospectus for sale to certain of our directors, officers, and employees. If these persons purchase reserved shares it will reduce the number of shares available for sale to the general public. Any reserved shares that are not so purchased will be offered by the underwriters to the general public on the same terms as the other shares offered by this prospectus. For more information regarding the directed share program, please read “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)—Directed Share Program.”

Unless the context requires otherwise, references to the number and percentage of shares of our common stock to be outstanding immediately after this offering are based on                  shares of our Class A common stock outstanding as of                 , 2020 and assume the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock will not be exercised.

Unless otherwise indicated, the information presented in this prospectus:

 

   

gives effect to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, which will be in effect prior to the completion of this offering;

 

   

assumes an initial public offering price of $         per share of our Class A common stock, the midpoint of the estimated public offering price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus; and

 

   

excludes              shares of our Class A common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2020 Plan (as defined herein), as further described in “Executive Compensation—2020 Equity Incentive Plan,” and              shares of our Class A common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP (as defined herein), as further described in “Executive Compensation—2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.”



 

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Summary Historical Consolidated Financial Data

The following table presents our summary historical consolidated financial data as of the dates and for the periods indicated. The summary historical consolidated financial data as of and for the fiscal years ended 2019 and 2018, and for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, are derived from the audited historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary historical consolidated financial data as of and for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 are derived from the unaudited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for future periods. We refer you to the notes to our historical consolidated financial statements for a discussion of the basis on which our historical consolidated financial statements are prepared.

Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31, resulting in fiscal years of either 52 or 53 weeks. All references to a fiscal year refer to the fiscal year ending on the Saturday closest to January 31 of the following year. For example, references to Fiscal 2019 refer to the fiscal year beginning February 3, 2019 and ending February 1, 2020. Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2018 each include 52 weeks.

This table should be read in conjunction with the sections entitled “Capitalization” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our historical consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks
Ended
 
     2019
(52 weeks ended
February 1, 2020)
    2018
(52 weeks ended
February 2, 2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 
(dollars in thousands)                         

Statement of operations data:

        

Net sales

   $ 4,434,514     $ 4,392,173     $ 3,582,489     $ 3,285,858  

Cost of sales

     2,527,995       2,487,334       2,045,016       1,877,237  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     1,906,519       1,904,839       1,537,473       1,408,621  

SG&A expenses

     1,776,919       1,746,387       1,410,024       1,339,154  

Goodwill & indefinite-lived intangible impairment

     19,000       373,172              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

     110,600       (214,720     127,449       69,467  

Interest income

     (335     (420     (332     (201

Interest expense

     253,018       243,744       169,096       192,222  

Loss on extinguishment of debt

           460              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes and (income) loss from equity method investees

     (142,083     (458,504     (41,315     (122,554

Income tax benefit

     (35,658     (45,840     (13,537     (28,263

(Income) loss from equity method investees

     (2,441     1,124       (2,952     (326
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

     (103,984     (413,788     (24,826     (93,965

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest(1)

     (8,111           (4,502     (5,263
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss income attributable to members

   $ (95,873   $ (413,788   $ (20,324   $ (88,702
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Per unit data:

        

Loss per unit attributable to Common Series A and Common Series B members, basic and diluted

   $ (0.07   $ (0.28   $ (0.01   $ (0.06

Weighted average units used in computing loss per unit attributable to Common Series A and Common Series B members

     1,457,985       1,457,164       1,458,558       1,457,794  

Cash dividends declared per common unit

   $     $     $     $  

Pro forma net loss per Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock attributable to stockholder(2)

        

Basic

        

Diluted

        


 

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     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks
Ended
 
     2019
(52 weeks ended
February 1, 2020)
    2018
(52 weeks ended
February 2, 2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 
(dollars in thousands)                         

Statement of cash flow data:

        

Net cash provided by (used in)

        

Operating activities

   $ 110,337     $ 203,202     $ 201,480     $ (34,248

Investing activities

     (139,041     (142,682     (95,920     (119,220

Financing activities

     (3,071     (32,099     (51,124     117,595  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

   $ (31,775   $ 28,421     $ 54,436     $ (35,873
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Balance Sheet data (end of period):

        

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 148,785     $ 180,649     $ 195,832     $ 145,815  

Merchandise inventories, net

     478,968       470,144       541,352       519,212  

Working (deficit) capital(3)

     (130,936     218,138       (59,702     (40,313

Fixed assets, net

     656,256       683,547       618,930       683,870  

Total assets(4)

     6,155,118       4,924,379       6,203,814       6,276,342  

Total debt(5)

     3,270,131       3,239,167       3,237,664       3,381,217  

Total equity

     561,061       637,909       545,617       566,192  

Other Financial and Operational Data:

        

Comparable sales increase (decrease)(6)

     3.9%       (1.1)%       9.6     4.0

Total pet care centers at end of period

     1,478       1,490       1,468       1,488  

Total pet care centers with veterinarian practices at end of period

     81       39       105       70  

Total Active Customers (in thousands)(7)

     19,651       19,075       21,462       19,727  

Total Active Multi-Channel Customers (in thousands)(8)

     3,024       2,786       3,531       3,000  

Net loss margin(9)

     (2.3)%       (9.4)%       (0.7 )%      (2.9 )% 

Adjusted EBITDA(10)

   $ 424,547     $ 437,836     $ 335,749     $ 292,628  

Adjusted EBITDA margin(10)

     9.6%       10.0%       9.4     8.9

 

(1)

The non-controlling interest represents 50% of the net loss of our veterinary joint venture, which is a variable interest entity for which we were deemed to be the primary beneficiary beginning in Fiscal 2019 due to revisions made in the joint operating agreement. Prior to Fiscal 2019, the joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment.

(2)

Assumes conversion of PET Acquisition LLC units into shares of our common stock in the Corporate Conversion. Class B-2 common stock is not allocated earnings on a pro forma, per share basis because it only has nominal economic rights.

(3)

Working (deficit) capital is defined as current assets minus current liabilities.

(4)

We adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842),” and related amendments as of February 3, 2019, the beginning of Fiscal 2019 on a prospective basis and therefore, fiscal years prior to 2019 have not been revised.

(5)

Total debt includes obligations under the senior secured credit facilities (as defined herein), the Floating Rate Senior Notes, the 3.00% Senior Notes, and finance leases. Amounts are reflected net of unamortized discounts and debt issuance costs.

(6)

Comparable sales growth is for our total enterprise. A new location or digital site is included in comparable sales beginning on the first day of the fiscal month following 12 full fiscal months of operation and is subsequently compared to like time periods from the previous year. Relocated stores become comparable stores on the first day of operation if the original store was open longer than 12 full fiscal months. If, during the period presented, a store was closed, sales from that store are included up to the first day of the month of closing. Additionally, our comparable sales exclude the impact of the wind-down and migration of our Drs. Foster & Smith digital site to Petco.com in Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019. Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—How We Assess the Performance of Our Business.”

(7)

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers (including Pals Loyalty members) that have made at least one transaction with us, across any of our channels, during the prior 12-month period.

(8)

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Multi-Channel Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers that have transacted with us across at least two of our channels during the prior 12-month period.

(9)

Net loss margin is defined as net loss divided by net sales.

(10)

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are non-GAAP financial measures. Please read “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures and a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures of each.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our Class A common stock involves uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors. You should carefully consider the risks described below with all of the other information included in this prospectus before deciding to invest in our Class A common stock. Further, the risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also materially affect our business. If any of the following risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In that case, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment. For a summary of these risks, please read “Summary—Summary of Risks Related to Our Business.”

Risks Related to Our Business

A decline in consumer spending or a change in consumer preferences or demographics could reduce our sales or profitability and adversely affect our business.

Our sales depend on consumer spending, which is influenced by factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions, disruption or volatility in global financial markets, changes in interest rates, the availability of discretionary income and credit, weather, consumer confidence, unemployment levels and government orders restricting freedom of movement. We may experience declines in sales or changes in the types of products and services sold during economic downturns. Our business could be harmed by any material decline in the amount of consumer spending, which could reduce our sales, or a decrease in the sales of higher-margin products, which could reduce our profitability and adversely affect our business.

We have also benefited from increasing pet ownership, discretionary spending on pets and current trends in humanization and premiumization in the pet industry, as well as favorable pet ownership demographics. To the extent these trends slow or reverse, our sales and profitability would be adversely affected. In particular, COVID-19 has driven an increase in pet ownership and consumer demand for our products that may not be sustained or may reverse at any time. The success of our business depends in part on our ability to identify and respond to evolving trends in demographics and consumer preferences. Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer tastes, preferences, spending patterns and pet care needs could adversely affect our relationship with our customers, the demand for our products and services, our market share and our profitability.

The growth of our business depends in part on our ability to accurately predict consumer trends, successfully introduce new products and services, improve existing products and services, and expand into new offerings.

Our growth depends, in part, on our ability to successfully introduce, improve, and reposition our products and services to meet the requirements of pet parents. This, in turn, depends on our ability to predict and respond to evolving consumer trends, demands and preferences. Our ability to innovate is affected by the technical capability of our product development staff and third-party consultants in developing and testing new products, including complying with governmental regulations, our attractiveness as a partner for outside research and development scientists and entrepreneurs, the success of our management and sales team in introducing and marketing new products and service offerings, and our ability to leverage our digital and data capabilities to gather and respond to consumer feedback.

We may be unable to determine with accuracy when or whether any of our products or services now under development will be launched, and we may be unable to develop or otherwise acquire product candidates or products. Additionally, we cannot predict whether any such products or services, once launched, will be commercially successful. If we are unable to successfully develop or otherwise acquire new products or services, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

 

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Our continued success is substantially dependent on positive perceptions of Petco, including our owned or exclusive brands.

We believe that one of the reasons our customers prefer to shop at Petco, and that our partners choose Petco as a place of employment, is the reputation we have built over many years of serving our primary constituencies: customers, partners, and the communities in which we operate. These are core elements of the Petco mission and brand. To be successful in the future, we must continue to preserve, grow, and leverage the value of our reputation and our brand. Reputational value is based in large part on perceptions of subjective qualities, and even isolated incidents that erode trust and confidence, particularly if they result in adverse publicity or widespread reaction on social media, governmental investigations, or litigation, can have an adverse impact on these perceptions and lead to adverse effects on our business, including decreased comparable sales, consumer boycotts, loss of new pet care center development opportunities, lower partner morale and productivity, or partner recruiting difficulties.

In addition, we sell many products under our owned or private label brands. Maintaining consistent product quality, competitive pricing, and availability of our branded products for our customers is essential to developing and maintaining customer loyalty and brand awareness. These products often have higher margins than national brand products. If one or more of these brands experience a loss of consumer acceptance or confidence, our sales and gross margin could be adversely affected.

Competition in the markets in which we operate, including internet-based competition, is strong and if we are unable to compete effectively, our ability to generate sales may suffer and our operating income and net income could decline.

The pet care industry is highly competitive. We compete with a number of specialty pet store chains and independent pet stores. We also compete with online retailers, supermarkets, warehouse clubs and mass merchants. The pet care industry has become increasingly competitive due to the expansion of pet-related product offerings by certain supermarkets, warehouse clubs, other retail merchandisers, and online retailers, and the entrance of additional independent pet stores with unique product offerings and other pet specialty retailers into the pet food and pet supply market, some of which have developed store formats similar to ours. Some competitors are larger and have access to greater capital and the ability to invest in more resources than we do.

We may face greater competition from national, regional, local and online retailers in the future. In particular, if any of our major competitors seeks to gain or retain market share by reducing prices or by introducing additional products or services, we may be required to reduce prices on our key products or services or introduce new offerings in order to remain competitive, which may negatively affect our profitability and require a change in our operating strategies.

If consumer preferences change and thereby decrease the attractiveness of what we believe to be our competitive advantages, including our extensive product assortment, premium product offerings, competitive pricing, high-quality service offerings, and a unique customer experience, or if we fail to otherwise positively differentiate our customer experience from that of our competitors, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may be unable to execute our growth strategies successfully or manage and sustain our growth, and as a result, our business may be adversely affected.

Our strategies include expanding our veterinary service offerings and building out our digital and data capabilities, growing our market share in services like grooming and training, enhancing our owned brand portfolio, and introducing new offerings to better connect with our customers. However, we may not be able to execute on these strategies as effectively as anticipated. Our ability to execute on these strategies depends on a number of factors, including:

 

   

whether we have adequate capital resources to expand our offerings and build out our digital and data capabilities;

 

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our ability to include veterinary services in our existing pet care centers or in our remodeled or relocated pet care centers;

 

   

our ability to relocate our pet care centers and obtain favorable sites and negotiate acceptable lease terms;

 

   

our ability to hire, train and retain skilled managers and personnel, including veterinarians, information technology professionals, owned brand merchants, and groomers and trainers; and

 

   

our ability to continue to upgrade our information and other operating systems and to make use of the data that we collect through these systems to offer better products and services to our customers.

Our existing locations may not maintain their current levels of sales and profitability, and our growth strategies may not generate sales levels necessary to achieve pet care center level profitability comparable to that of our existing locations. To the extent that we are unable to execute on our growth strategies in accordance with our expectations, our sales growth would come primarily from the organic growth of existing product and service offerings.

We may experience difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians due to shortages that could disrupt our business.

The successful growth of our veterinary services business depends on our ability to recruit and retain skilled veterinarians and other veterinary technical staff. We face competition from other veterinary service providers in the labor market for veterinarians, and from time to time, we may experience shortages of skilled veterinarians in markets in which we operate our veterinary service businesses, which may require us or our affiliated veterinary practices to increase wages and enhance benefits to recruit and retain enough qualified veterinarians to adequately staff our veterinary services operations. If we are unable to recruit and retain qualified veterinarians, or to control our labor costs, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We face various risks as an e-commerce retailer.

As part of our growth strategy, we seek to further integrate our in-store and online operations and have made significant investments to integrate and grow our e-commerce business. We may require additional capital in the future to sustain or grow our e-commerce business. Business risks related to our e-commerce business include our inability to keep pace with rapid technological change, failure in our security procedures or operational controls, failure or inadequacy in our systems or labor resource levels to effectively process customer orders in a timely manner, government regulation and legal uncertainties with respect to e-commerce, and collection of sales or other taxes by one or more states or foreign jurisdictions. If any of these risks materialize, it could have an adverse effect on our business.

In some circumstances, increased transactions through our website may result in reduced customer traffic in our pet care centers, particularly as customers take advantage of home delivery services available for online orders when making certain types of purchases, such as for bulk orders or heavy pet products. There is a risk that any such reduced customer traffic may reduce the sales of certain products and services in our pet care centers. The availability of free shipping of online and “extended aisle” orders increases our costs and could adversely affect our profitability.

In addition, as other internet retailers have increased market share in recent years, we have faced increased competition, and may continue to face increased competition in the future, from internet retailers who enter the market. Our failure to positively differentiate our product and services offerings or customer experience from these internet retailers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If we fail to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth strategies, we may be unable to sustain our growth and our business may be adversely affected.

Our growth rate depends, to a large degree, on the availability of adequate capital to fund the expansion of our offerings, including veterinary services and digital capabilities, which in turn will depend in large part on cash flow generated by our business and the availability of equity and debt capital. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain sufficient cash flow or obtain sufficient equity or debt capital on acceptable terms, or at all, to support our expansion plans.

Moreover, the credit agreements governing the senior secured credit facilities contain provisions that restrict the amount of debt we may incur in the future, and certain other covenants that may restrict or impair our growth plans. If we are not successful in generating or obtaining sufficient capital, we may be unable to invest in our growth, which may adversely affect our results of operations.

We depend on key personnel, and if we lose the services of any of our principal executive officers, we may not be able to run our business effectively.

We are dependent upon the efforts of our principal executive officers. The loss of any of our principal executive officers could affect our ability to run our business effectively. Our success will depend on our ability to retain our current management and to attract and retain qualified personnel in the future. Competition for senior management personnel is intense, and we cannot assure you that we can retain our personnel. The loss of a member of senior management requires the remaining executive officers to divert immediate and substantial attention to seeking a replacement. The inability to fill vacancies in our senior executive positions on a timely basis could adversely affect our ability to implement our business strategy, which would negatively impact our results of operations.

The loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of any of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors, would negatively impact our business.

We purchase significant amounts of products from a number of vendors with limited supply capabilities. There can be no assurance that our current pet food or supply vendors will be able to accommodate our anticipated growth and expansion of our locations and e-commerce business. As a result of the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, some of our existing vendors have not been able to supply us with products in a timely or cost-effective manner. While we believe these disruptions to be temporary, a continued inability of our existing vendors to provide products or other product supply disruptions that may occur in the future could impair our business, financial condition, and results of operations. To date, vendor-related supply challenges have not had a material effect on our business or our sales and profitability. We do not maintain long-term supply contracts with any of our merchandise vendors. Any vendor could discontinue selling to us at any time. Although we do not materially rely on any particular vendor, the loss of any of our significant vendors of pet food, particularly premium pet food, or pet supplies that we offer could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We continually seek to expand our base of pet food and supply vendors and to identify new pet products. If we are unable to identify or enter into distribution relationships with new vendors or to replace the loss of any of our existing vendors, we may experience a competitive disadvantage, our business may be disrupted, and our results of operations may be adversely affected.

Most of the premium pet food brands that we purchase are not widely carried in supermarkets, warehouse clubs, or mass merchants. If any premium pet food manufacturers were to make premium pet food products widely available in supermarkets or through mass merchants, or if the premium brands currently available to supermarkets and mass merchants were to increase their market share at the expense of the premium brands sold only through specialty pet food and supplies retailers, our ability to attract and retain customers or our competitive position may suffer. Further, if supermarkets, warehouse clubs, or mass merchants begin offering any of these premium pet food brands at lower prices, our sales and gross margin could be adversely affected.

 

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Several of the pet food brands and product lines we currently purchase and offer for sale to our customers are not offered by our closest pet specialty competitor. However, in most cases, we have not entered into formal exclusivity agreements with the vendors for such brands. In the event these vendors choose to enter into distribution arrangements with other specialty pet retailers or other competitors our sales could suffer and our business could be adversely affected.

Our principal vendors currently provide us with certain incentives such as volume purchasing, trade discounts, cooperative advertising and market development funds. A reduction or discontinuance of these incentives would increase our costs and could reduce our profitability.

We face various risks related to health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

Our business and financial results have been, and could be in the future, adversely affected by health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks. The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and continues to spread in the United States and in many other countries globally. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reduced operations in many of our pet care centers, which has decreased our pet care center revenues and may continue to adversely affect such revenues for an uncertain period of time. Despite our efforts to manage these matters, their ultimate effects also depend on factors beyond our knowledge or control, including the duration, severity, and recurrence of any outbreak and actions taken to contain its spread and mitigate its public health effects. The pandemic may continue to adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows, including by resulting in (i) significant volatility in demand for our products and services, (ii) changes in consumer behavior and preferences, (iii) disruptions of our manufacturing and supply chain operations, (iv) disruption of our cost saving programs and restructuring initiatives, (v) limitations on our employees’ ability to work and travel, and (vi) changes to economic or political conditions in markets in which we operate.

As a result of COVID-19, many of our personnel are working remotely, and it is possible that this could have a negative impact on the execution of our business plans and operations. If a natural disaster, power outage, connectivity issue, or other event occurred that impacted our employees’ ability to work remotely, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible, for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. The increase in remote working may also result in consumer privacy, IT security and fraud concerns as well as increase our exposure to potential wage and hour issues.

Further, as a result of COVID-19, the operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers have been, and could be in the future, substantially disrupted by federal or state mandates ordering shutdowns of non-essential services or by the inability of our employees to travel to work. Our expansion plans for pet care centers, veterinary services, and distribution centers may also be delayed by or become costlier due to the continuing spread of COVID-19. Disruptions to the operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers and delays or increased costs in the expansion of our pet care center or distribution center capacity may negatively impact our financial performance and slow our future growth.

The uncertainty around the duration of business disruptions and the extent of the spread of the virus in the United States and to other areas of the world will likely continue to adversely impact the national or global economy and negatively impact consumer spending. Any of these outcomes could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and ability to execute and capitalize on our strategies. The full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our operations and financial performance depends on future developments that are uncertain and unpredictable, including the duration and spread of the pandemic, any long-term health impacts on any partners who have been infected with COVID-19, its impact on capital and financial markets, and any new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the virus and its spread to other regions, as well as the actions taken to contain it, among others.

 

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In the weeks leading up to stay-at-home conditions in March and April 2020, consumer demand for our products, specifically essential pet food, surged. During this surge, we could not fulfill demand for all of our product orders. If such surges outpace our capacity build or occur at unexpected times, we may be unable to fully meet our customers’ demands for our products. Further, it is unknown what impact a “second wave” of outbreaks in 2020 or beyond could have on our operations and workforce. Such impacts could include effects on our business and operations from additional government restrictions on travel, shipping, and workforce activities, including stay-at-home orders.

A disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses, which could harm our sales and profitability.

Our vendors generally ship merchandise to one or more of our distribution centers, which receive and allocate merchandise to our locations and e-commerce customers. The success of our pet care centers depends on their timely receipt of merchandise. If any shipped merchandise were to be delayed because of the impact of weather on transnational shipping, particularly from our vendors in Asia, our operations would likely be significantly disrupted. Disruption to shipping and transportation channels due to slowdowns or work stoppages at ports on the West Coast of the United States have occurred in the past, and to the extent they occur in the future, could cause us to rely more heavily on airfreight to achieve timely delivery to our customers, resulting in significantly higher freight costs. We may not be able to pass all or any portion of these higher costs on to our customers or adjust our pricing structure in a timely manner in order to remain competitive, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We have faced labor shortages at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, which has adversely affected our results of operations. If any of our distribution centers were to shut down, continue to suffer substantial labor shortages, or lose significant capacity for any reason, our operations would likely be significantly disrupted. We compete with other retailers for the supply of personnel to staff our distribution centers, some of whom are larger than us and have access to greater capital resources than we do. If we are unable to successfully recruit and retain personnel to staff our distribution centers, we may face labor shortages or be forced to increase wages and enhance benefits for such personnel, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, any interruption or malfunction in our distribution operations, including, but not limited to, the loss of a key vendor that provides transportation of merchandise to or from our distribution centers, or regulatory issues with respect to any of our distribution centers, could adversely affect our sales and results of operations. An interruption in our inventory supply chain could result in out-of-stock or excess merchandise inventory levels or adversely affect our ability to make timely deliveries to e-commerce customers, and could adversely affect our sales and results of operations.

Our operations are subject to extensive governmental regulation, and we may incur material liabilities under, or costs in order to comply with, existing or future laws and regulations. Our failure to comply with such laws and regulations may result in enforcements, recalls, and other adverse actions that could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our financial results.

Our operations, including some of our vendors, are subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”), the Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”), the National Labor Relations Board, and by various other federal, state, local, and foreign authorities. These laws and regulations govern, among other things, our relationships with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, terms and conditions of employment, working conditions, and citizenship requirements; the weights and measures of our products; the manufacturing and distribution of foods, drugs, and controlled substances intended for animal use; our businesses that provide veterinary services and pet insurance plans; the transportation, handling, and sale of small pets;

 

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emissions to air and water and the generation, handling, storage, discharge, transportation, disposal, and remediation of waste and hazardous materials; the processing, storage, distribution, safety, advertising, labeling, promotion, and import or export of our products; providing services to our customers; contracted services with various third-party providers; credit and debit card processing; the handling, security, protection, and use of customer and associate information; and the licensing and certification of services. In addition, we are subject to a wide range of state and local regulations relating to COVID-19, which are frequently changing. Read “Business—Government Regulation.”

Violations of or liability under applicable laws and regulations may result in administrative, civil or criminal fines, penalties or sanctions against us, revocation or modification of applicable permits, licenses, or authorizations, environmental, health and safety investigations or remedial activities, voluntary or involuntary product recalls, warning or untitled letters or cease and desist orders against operations that are not in compliance, or third-party liability claims against us, among other things. Such laws and regulations generally have become more stringent over time and may become more so in the future, and we may incur (directly, or indirectly through our outsourced private brand manufacturing partners) material costs to comply with current or future laws and regulations or in any required product recalls. Some of these laws and regulations are subject to varying and uncertain interpretations, application, and enforcement by courts and regulatory authorities with broad discretion, which can mean that our efforts to maintain compliance in all jurisdictions are not always successful. Liabilities under, costs of compliance with, and the impacts on us of any alleged or determined non-compliance with any such laws and regulations could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, changes in the laws and regulations to which we are subject could impose significant limitations and require changes to our business, which may increase our compliance expenses, make our business costlier and less efficient to conduct, and compromise our growth strategy. Although we routinely obtain broad indemnities from our vendors in respect of their products, we could be adversely affected if we were found not to be in compliance with applicable regulations and we were not made whole by our vendors.

Among other regulatory requirements, the FDA regulates the inclusion of specific claims in pet food labeling. For example, pet food products that are labeled or marketed with claims that may suggest that they are intended to treat or prevent disease in pets would potentially meet the statutory definitions of both a food and a drug. The FDA has issued guidance containing a list of specific factors it will consider in determining whether to initiate enforcement action against such products if they do not comply with the regulatory requirements applicable to drugs. These factors include, among other things, whether the product is only made available through or under the direction of a veterinarian and does not present a known safety risk when used as labeled. While we believe that we market our products in compliance with the policy articulated in FDA’s guidance and in other claim-specific guidance, the FDA may disagree or may classify some of our products differently than we do, and may impose more stringent regulations which could lead to alleged regulatory violations, enforcement actions, and/or product recalls. In addition, we may produce new products in the future that may be subject to FDA pre-market review before we can market and sell such products. Our distribution centers are also subject to periodic inspection by the FDA or other governmental authorities.

Currently, many states in the United States have adopted the Association of American Feed Control Officials (the “AAFCO”) definition of the term “natural” with respect to the pet food industry, which means a feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur in good manufacturing practices. Certain of our pet food products use the term “natural” in their labelling or marketing materials. As a result, we may incur material costs to comply with any new labeling requirements relating to the term “natural” and could be subject to liabilities if we fail to timely comply with such requirements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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Failure to comply with governmental regulations or the expansion of existing or the enactment of new laws or regulations applicable to our veterinary services could adversely affect our business and our financial condition or lead to fines, litigation, or our inability to offer veterinary products or services in certain states.

All of the states in which we operate impose various registration, permit, and/or licensing requirements relating to the provision of veterinary products and services. To fulfill these requirements, we believe that we have registered with appropriate governmental agencies and, where required, have appointed a licensed veterinarian to act on behalf of each facility. All veterinarians practicing in our veterinary service businesses are required to maintain valid state licenses to practice.

In addition, certain states have laws, rules, and regulations which require that veterinary medical practices be owned by licensed veterinarians and that corporations which are not owned by licensed veterinarians refrain from providing, or holding themselves out as providers of, veterinary medical care, or directly employing or otherwise exercising control over veterinarians providing such care. We may experience difficulty in expanding our operations into other states or jurisdictions with similar laws, rules, and regulations. Our provision of veterinary services through tele-veterinarian offerings is also subject to an evolving set of state laws, rules, and regulations. Although we believe that we have structured our operations to comply with our understanding of the veterinary medicine laws of each state or jurisdiction in which we operate, interpretive legal precedent and regulatory guidance varies by jurisdiction and is often sparse and not fully developed. A determination that we are in violation of applicable restrictions on the practice of veterinary medicine in any jurisdiction in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on us, particularly if we are unable to restructure our operations to comply with the requirements of that jurisdiction.

We strive to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and other legal obligations applicable to our veterinary services. It is possible, however, that these requirements may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another or may conflict with other rules or our practices. We cannot guarantee that our practices have complied, comply, or will comply fully with all such laws, regulations, requirements, and obligations. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with our filed permits and licenses with any applicable federal-, state-, or international-related laws, industry standards or codes of conduct, regulatory guidance, orders to which we may be subject, or other legal obligations relating to privacy or consumer protection could adversely affect our reputation, brand, and business, and may result in claims, proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities or others or other liabilities. Any such claim, proceeding, or action could hurt our reputation, brand and business, force us to incur significant expenses in defending such proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, result in a loss of customers and vendors, and may result in the imposition of monetary liability. We may also be contractually liable to indemnify and hold harmless third parties from the costs or consequences of non-compliance with any laws or regulations applicable to our veterinary services. In addition, various federal, state, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies may expand existing laws or regulations, enact new laws or regulations, or issue revised rules or guidance applicable to our veterinary services. Any such changes may force us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices. This could compromise our ability to pursue our growth strategy effectively and may adversely affect our ability to acquire customers or otherwise harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We occasionally seek to grow our business through acquisitions of or investments in new or complementary businesses, products or services, or through strategic ventures, and the failure to successfully identify these opportunities, manage and integrate these acquisitions, investments, or alliances, or to achieve an adequate return on these investments, could have an adverse effect on us.

The pet care industry is highly fragmented. We have completed acquisitions in the past and may pursue expansion and acquisition opportunities in the future. If we are unable to manage acquisitions, investments, or strategic ventures, or integrate any acquired businesses, services, or technologies

 

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effectively, we may not realize the expected benefits from the transaction relative to the consideration paid, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected. To be successful, the integration process requires us to achieve the benefits of combining the companies, including generating operating efficiencies and synergies and eliminating or reducing redundant costs. This integration process involves inherent uncertainties, and we cannot assure you that the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions will be fully realized without incurring unanticipated costs or diverting management’s attention from our core operations.

From time to time we also make strategic investments. These investments typically involve many of the same risks posed by acquisitions, particularly those risks associated with the diversion of our resources, the inability of the new venture to generate sufficient revenues, the management of relationships with third parties, and potential expenses. Strategic ventures have the added risk that the other strategic venture partners may have economic, business, or legal interests or objectives that are inconsistent with our interests and objectives.

Further, we may be unsuccessful in identifying and evaluating business, legal, or financial risks as part of the due diligence process associated with a particular transaction. In addition, some investments may result in the incurrence of debt or may have contingent consideration components that may require us to pay additional amounts in the future in relation to future performance results of the subject business. If we do enter into agreements with respect to these transactions, we may fail to complete them due to factors such as failure to obtain regulatory or other approvals. We may be unable to realize the full benefits from these transactions, such as increased net sales or enhanced efficiencies, within the timeframes that we expect or at all. These events could divert attention from our other businesses and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any future acquisitions also could result in potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the incurrence of additional debt, or the assumption of contingent liabilities.

We are subject to risks related to online payment methods.

We currently accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit cards, debit cards, Paypal, and gift cards. As we offer new payment options to consumers, we may be subject to additional regulations, compliance requirements, fraud, and other risks. For certain payment methods, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower profitability. As a merchant that accepts debit and credit cards for payment, we are subject to the Payment Card Industry (“PCI”) Data Security Standard (“PCI DSS”), issued by the PCI Council. PCI DSS contains compliance guidelines and standards with regard to our security surrounding the physical administrative and technical storage, processing, and transmission of individual cardholder data. By accepting debit cards for payment, we are also subject to compliance with American National Standards Institute data encryption standards and payment network security operating guidelines. Failure to be PCI compliant or to meet other payment card standards may result in the imposition of financial penalties or the allocation by the card brands of the costs of fraudulent charges to us. As well, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act requires systems that print payment card receipts to employ personal account number truncation so that the customer’s full account number is not viewable on the slip.

Further, as our business changes, we may be subject to different rules under existing standards, which may require new assessments that involve costs above what we currently pay for compliance. In the future, as we offer new payment options to consumers, including by way of integrating emerging mobile and other payment methods, we may be subject to additional regulations, compliance requirements, and fraud. If we fail to comply with the rules or requirements of any provider of a payment method we accept, if the volume of fraud in our transactions limits or terminates our rights to use payment methods we currently accept, or if a data breach occurs relating to our payment systems, we may, among other things, be subject to fines, legal proceedings, or higher transaction fees and may lose, or face restrictions placed upon, our ability to accept credit card payments from consumers or facilitate other types of online payments. If any of these events were to occur, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We also occasionally receive orders placed with fraudulent data. If we are unable to detect or control fraud, our liability for these transactions could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our marketing programs, e-commerce initiatives, and use of consumer information are governed by an evolving set of laws and enforcement trends, and changes in privacy laws or trends, or our failure to comply with existing or future laws, could substantially harm our business and results of operations.

We collect, maintain, use, and share consumer data provided to us through online activities and other consumer interactions in our business in order to provide a better experience for our customers. Our current and future marketing programs depend on our ability to collect, maintain, use and share this information with service providers, and our ability to do so depends on the trust that our customers place in us and our ability to maintain that trust. Additionally, our use of consumer data is subject to the terms of our privacy policies and certain contractual restrictions in third-party contracts as well as evolving federal, state, and international laws and enforcement trends. While we strive to comply with all such regulatory and contractual obligations and believe that we are good stewards of our customers’ data, this area is rapidly evolving, and it is possible that these requirements may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, may conflict with other rules, or may conflict with our practices. If so, we may suffer damage to our reputation and be subject to proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities or others. Any such proceeding or action could hurt our reputation, force us to spend significant amounts to defend our practices, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, and result in monetary liability.

One of the ways we track consumer data and interactions for marketing purposes is through the use of third-party “cookies.” Federal and state governmental authorities continue to evaluate the privacy implications inherent in the use of third-party cookies and other methods of online tracking for behavioral advertising and other purposes. The U.S. government has enacted, has considered, or is considering legislation or regulations that could significantly restrict the ability of companies and individuals to engage in these activities, such as by regulating the level of consumer notice and consent required before a company can employ cookies or other electronic tracking tools or the use of data gathered with such tools. Additionally, some providers of consumer devices and web browsers have implemented, or announced plans to implement, means to make it easier for internet users to prevent the placement of cookies or to block other tracking technologies, which could if widely adopted result in the use of third-party cookies and other methods of online tracking becoming significantly less effective. The regulation of the use of these cookies and other current online tracking and advertising practices or a loss in our ability to make effective use of services that employ such technologies could increase our costs of operations and limit our ability to acquire new customers on cost-effective terms and, consequently, materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

In addition, various federal and state legislative and regulatory bodies, or self-regulatory organizations, may expand or further enforce current laws or regulations, enact new laws or regulations, or issue revised rules or guidance regarding privacy, data protection, consumer protection, and advertising. For example, in June 2018, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain sales of personal information, and receive detailed information about what personal information is collected, how their personal information is used, and how that personal information is shared. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations enforced by the California Attorney General, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Further, on November 3, 2020, the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”) was voted into law by California residents. The CPRA significantly amends the CCPA, and imposes additional data protection obligations on companies doing business in California, including additional consumer rights processes and opt outs for certain uses of sensitive data. It also creates a new California data protection agency specifically tasked to

 

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enforce the law, which could result in increased regulatory scrutiny of California businesses in the areas of data protection and security. The substantive requirements for businesses subject to the CPRA will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and become enforceable on July 1, 2023. Some observers have noted that the CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent state privacy legislation in the United States. Similar laws have been proposed in other states and at the federal level, and if passed, such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements that would make compliance challenging. We have incurred and may continue to incur costs to adapt our systems and practices to comply with the current CCPA requirements and these costs may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), and many state attorneys general are interpreting existing federal and state consumer protection laws to impose evolving standards for the online collection, use, dissemination, and security of other personal data. Courts may also adopt the standards for fair information practices promulgated by the FTC, which concern consumer notice, choice, security, and access. Consumer protection laws require us to publish statements that describe how we handle personal data and choices individuals may have about the way we handle their personal data. If such information that we publish is considered untrue, we may be subject to government claims of unfair or deceptive trade practices, which could lead to significant liabilities and consequences. Further, according to the FTC, violating consumers’ privacy rights or failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal data secure may constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Each of these privacy, security, and data protection laws and regulations—and others, including the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, regulating our use of certain electronic mail marketing and state data breach notification laws requiring notifications to state residents in certain instances—and any other such changes or new laws or regulations, could impose significant limitations, require changes to our business, or restrict our use or storage of personal information, which may increase our compliance expenses and make our business costlier or less efficient to conduct. In addition, any such changes could compromise our ability to develop an adequate marketing strategy and pursue our growth strategy effectively, which, in turn, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We face the risk of litigation resulting from unauthorized text messages sent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

We send short message service, or SMS, text messages to customers. The actual or perceived improper sending of text messages may subject us to potential risks, including liabilities or claims relating to consumer protection laws. Numerous class-action suits under federal and state laws have been filed in recent years against companies who conduct SMS texting programs, with many resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements to the plaintiffs. Any future such litigation against us could be costly and time-consuming to defend. For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, a federal statute that protects consumers from unwanted telephone calls, faxes and text messages, restricts telemarketing and the use of automated SMS text messages without proper consent. Federal or state regulatory authorities or private litigants may claim that the notices and disclosures we provide, form of consents we obtain or our SMS texting practices are not adequate or violate applicable law. This may in the future result in civil claims against us. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to the delivery of text messages are continuously evolving and developing. If we do not comply with these laws or regulations or if we become liable under these laws or regulations, we could face direct liability, could be required to change some portions of our business model, could face negative publicity, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Even an unsuccessful challenge of our SMS texting practices by our customers, regulatory authorities, or other third parties could result in negative publicity and could require a costly response from and defense by us.

 

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Our reputation and business may be harmed if our or our vendors’ computer network security or any of the databases containing customer, employee, or other personal information maintained by us or our third-party providers is compromised, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

We collect, store, and transmit proprietary or confidential information regarding our customers, employees, job applicants, and others, including credit card information and personally identifiable information. We also collect, store, and transmit employees’ health information in order to administer employee benefits; accommodate disabilities and injuries; to comply with public health requirements; and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The protection of customer, employee, and company data in the information technology systems we use (including those maintained by third-party providers) is critical. In the normal course of business, we are and have been the target of malicious cyber-attack attempts and have experienced other security incidents. For example, in September 2020, we discovered malware designed to illegally access our customers’ credit card information had been installed on the website of one of our business units. We engaged a cybersecurity firm to assist us in launching an investigation, and took steps to remediate the breach, including shutting down the impacted systems to prevent unauthorized access to customer data. Our investigation revealed that customers’ personal information exposed in this incident included names, email addresses, addresses, credit card numbers, credit card expiration dates, credit card CVV codes and account passwords. We notified state regulators and the affected individuals. In October 2020, we received a demand letter from legal counsel for two individuals in connection with this incident claiming violations of various provisions of California law and asserting other common law causes of action. This demand letter also stated the intention to seek relief on behalf of similarly situated customers. Our evaluation of this demand letter is ongoing.

While to date, we do not believe such identified security events have been material or significant to us, including to our reputation or business operations, or had a material financial impact, we can not assure you that such incidents or future cyber-attacks will not expose us to material liability. Security could be compromised and confidential information, such as customer credit card numbers, employee information, or other personally identifiable information that we or our vendors collect, transmit, or store, could be misappropriated or system disruptions could occur. In addition, cyber-attacks such as ransomware attacks could lock us out of our information systems and disrupt our operations. We may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent rapidly evolving types of cyber-attacks. Attacks may be targeted at us, our customers, our employees, or others who have entrusted us with information. Actual or anticipated attacks may cause us to incur increasing costs, including costs to deploy additional personnel and protection technologies, train employees, and engage third-party experts and consultants. Advances in computer capabilities, new technological discoveries, or other developments may result in the breach or compromise of the technology used by us to protect transactions or other sensitive data. In addition, data and security breaches could also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including intentional or inadvertent breach by our employees or by persons with whom we have commercial relationships, that result in the unauthorized release of personal or confidential information. Any compromise or breach of our or our vendors’ computer network security could result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, costly investigations, litigation, including class actions, and notification, as well as potential regulatory or other actions by governmental agencies and harm to our brand, business, and results of operations. As a result of any of the foregoing, we could experience adverse publicity, loss of sales, the cost of remedial measures and significant expenditures to reimburse third parties for damages, which could adversely impact our results of operations. Any insurance we maintain against the risk of this type of loss may not be sufficient to cover actual losses or may not apply to the circumstances relating to any particular loss.

The techniques used by criminals to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive data change frequently and often cannot be recognized until launched against a target. Accordingly, we or our vendors may not be able to anticipate these frequently changing techniques or implement adequate preventive measures for all of them. Failure by us or our vendors to comply with data security requirements, including the CCPA’s new “reasonable security” requirement in light of the private right

 

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of action, or rectify a security issue may result in class action litigation, fines and the imposition of restrictions on our ability to accept payment cards, which could adversely affect our operations. We cannot assure you that we or our vendors will be able to satisfy the PCI data security standards. In addition, PCI is controlled by a limited number of vendors that have the ability to impose changes in fee structures and operational requirements without negotiation. Such changes in fees and operational requirements may result in our failure to comply with PCI security standards, as well as significant unanticipated expenses. Any unauthorized access into our customers’ sensitive information, or other data handled by or on behalf of us, even if we are compliant with industry security standards, could put us at a competitive disadvantage, result in deterioration of our customers’ confidence in us, and subject us to potential litigation, liability, fines, and penalties and consent decrees, which could require us to expend significant resources related to remediation or result in a disruption of our operations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If our information systems or infrastructure fail to perform as designed or are interrupted for a significant period of time, our business could be adversely affected.

The efficient operation of our business is dependent on our information systems. In particular, we rely on our information systems to effectively manage our financial and operational data, to maintain our in-stock positions, and to transact the sale of our products in our pet care centers. The failure of our information systems to perform as designed, loss of data, or any interruption of our information systems for a significant period of time could disrupt our business.

Our operations also depend on our ability to maintain and protect the computer systems we use to manage our purchase orders, pet care center inventory levels, web applications, accounting functions, and other critical aspects of our business. Our systems are vulnerable to damage from fire, floods, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, terrorist and cyber-attacks, and similar events. Our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient to adequately respond to any such events. In addition, we may have inadequate insurance coverage to compensate for any related losses and expenses. Any of these events could damage our reputation, disrupt our business, and be expensive to remedy.

We continue to invest in our information systems and IT infrastructure. Enhancement to or replacement of our major financial or operational information systems could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct our business operations and increase our risk of loss resulting from disruptions of normal operating processes and procedures that may occur during the implementation of new information systems. It may also require us to divest resources to ensure that implementation is successful. We can make no assurances that the costs of investments in our information systems will not exceed estimates, that the systems will be implemented without material disruption, or that the systems will be as beneficial as predicted. If any of these events occur, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Negative publicity arising from claims that we do not properly care for animals we handle or sell could adversely affect how we are perceived by the public and reduce our sales and profitability.

From time to time we receive claims or complaints alleging that we do not properly care for some of the pets we handle or for companion animals we handle and sell, which may include dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and other small animals. Deaths or injuries sometimes occur while animals are in our care. As a result, we may be subject to claims that our animal care practices, including grooming, training, veterinary, and other services, or the related training of our associates, do not provide the proper level of care. Our efforts to establish our reputation as a “health and wellness” company increases the risk of claims or complaints regarding our practices. Any such claims or complaints, as well as any related news reports or reports on social media, even if inaccurate or untrue, could cause negative publicity, which in turn could harm our business and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

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Our international operations and evolving foreign trade policy may result in additional market risks, which may adversely affect our business.

As our international operations grow, they may require greater management and financial resources. International operations require the integration of personnel with varying cultural and business backgrounds and an understanding of the relevant differences in the cultural, legal, and regulatory environments. Our results may be increasingly affected by the risks of our international activities, including:

 

   

challenges anticipating or responding to the impact that local culture and market forces may have on local consumer preferences and trends;

 

   

fluctuations in currency exchanges rates;

 

   

changes in international staffing and employment issues;

 

   

the imposition of taxes, duties, tariffs, or other trade barriers;

 

   

shipping delays, such as the recent slowdown or work stoppage at ports on the West Coast, or customs delays;

 

   

greater difficulty in utilizing and enforcing our intellectual property rights;

 

   

the burden of complying with foreign laws, including regulatory regimes, tax laws, privacy laws, and financial accounting standards;

 

   

political and economic instability and developments;

 

   

issues or disputes arising with our joint venture partners, if any, in such operations; and

 

   

the risk that COVID-19 spreads widely in any country where we have significant employee presence, facilities, or critical operations, thereby impairing our ability to manage day-to-day operations and service our customers, increasing our costs of operations, and resulting in potential losses in revenue.

Moreover, certain policies and statements of the President of the United States and senior administration officials have given rise to uncertainty regarding the future of international trade agreements and the United States’ position on international trade. For example, the U.S. government has threatened to undertake a number of actions relating to trade with Mexico, including the closure of the border and the imposition of escalating tariffs on goods imported into the United States from Mexico. It remains unclear what additional actions, if any, the current U.S. administration will take with respect to trade relationships. Additional trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, embargoes, safeguards, and customs restrictions, could increase the cost or reduce the supply of products available to us and to our vendors based in the United States and may require us to modify our supply chain organization or other current business practices, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our products are sourced from a wide variety of vendors, including from vendors overseas, particularly in China. In addition, some of the products that we purchase from vendors in the United States also depend, in whole or in part, on vendors located outside the U.S. In 2018 and 2019, the United States imposed significant tariffs on various products imported from China, including certain products we source from China. The United States has also stated that further tariffs may be imposed on additional products imported from China if a trade agreement is not reached. On January 15, 2020, a “phase one” trade deal was signed between the United States and China and was accompanied by a decision from the United States to cancel a plan to increase tariffs on an additional list of Chinese products. However, given the limited scope of the phase one agreement, concerns over the stability of bilateral trade relations remain. At this time, we cannot assure you that a broader trade agreement will be successfully negotiated between the United States and China to reduce or eliminate the existing tariffs.

If additional tariffs are imposed on our products, or other retaliatory trade measures are taken, our costs could increase and we may be required to raise our prices. Further, efforts to mitigate this

 

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tariff risk, including a shift of production to places outside of China, could result in increased costs and disruption to our operations. These potential outcomes could result in the loss of customers and adversely affect our operating performance. To mitigate tariff risks with China, we may also seek to shift production outside of China, which could result in increased costs and disruption to our operations.

Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate due to the timing of expenses, new pet care center openings, pet care center closures, and other factors.

Our expansion plans, including the timing of new and remodeled pet care centers and veterinary hospitals, and related pre-opening costs, the amount of net sales contributed by new and existing pet care centers, and the timing of and estimated costs associated with pet care center closings or relocations, may cause our quarterly results of operations to fluctuate. Further, new pet care centers and service offerings tend to experience higher payroll, advertising and other store-level expenses as a percentage of net sales than more mature pet care centers, and such openings also often contribute to lower pet care center operating margins until those pet care centers become established, which may result in quarterly fluctuations in operating results. Quarterly operating results are not necessarily accurate predictors of performance.

Quarterly operating results may also vary depending on a number of factors, many of which are outside our control, including:

 

   

changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;

 

   

our sales and channels mix and the relevant gross margins of the products and services sold;

 

   

the hiring and retention of key personnel;

 

   

wage and cost pressures;

 

   

changes in fuel prices or electrical rates;

 

   

costs related to acquisitions of businesses; and

 

   

general economic factors.

Pet food safety, quality, and health concerns could adversely affect our business.

We could be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in the safety and quality of our owned brand or vendor-supplied pet food products and supplies. Adverse publicity about these types of concerns, whether valid or not, may discourage consumers from buying the products in our locations or cause vendor production and delivery disruptions. The actual or perceived sale of contaminated pet food products by our vendors or us could result in product liability claims against our vendors or us and a loss of consumer confidence, which could have an adverse effect on our sales and operations. In addition, if our products are alleged to pose a risk of injury or illness, or if they are alleged to have been mislabeled, misbranded, or adulterated, or to otherwise be in violation of governmental regulations, we may need to find alternate ingredients for our products, delay production of our products, or discard or otherwise dispose of our products, which could adversely affect our results of operations. If this occurs after the affected product has been distributed, we may need to withdraw or recall the affected product. Given the difficulty in converting pet food customers, if we lose customers due to a loss of confidence in safety or quality, it may be difficult to reacquire such customers.

Restrictions imposed in reaction to outbreaks of animal diseases or COVID-19 could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If animal diseases, such as mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, or highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as “bird flu,” impact the availability of the protein-based ingredients our vendors use in products, our vendors may be required to locate alternative sources for protein-based

 

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ingredients. Those sources may not be available to sustain our sales volumes, may be costlier, and may affect the quality and nutritional value of our products. If outbreaks of mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, bird flu, or any other animal disease, or the regulation or publicity resulting therefrom impacts the cost of the protein-based ingredients we have in our products, or the cost of the alternative protein-based ingredients necessary for our products as compared to our current costs, we may be required to increase the selling price of our products to avoid margin deterioration. However, we may not be able to charge higher prices for our products without negatively impacting future sales volumes.

As a result of the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, some manufacturers of pork and other protein-based ingredients we use in our products were forced to shut down processing plants or take other adverse actions. While our supply chain was not disrupted, similar disruptions in the future due to COVID-19 or other outbreaks could potentially limit the supply of or increase prices for certain of meat proteins used in our pet food products, adversely affecting our business and results of operations.

Product recalls and product liability, as well as changes in product safety and other consumer protection laws, may adversely impact our operations, merchandise offerings, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

We are subject to regulations by a variety of federal, state, and international regulatory authorities, including regulations regarding the safety and quality of our products. We purchase merchandise from several hundred different vendors. One or more of our vendors, including manufacturers of our owned or private label brand products, might not adhere to product safety requirements or our quality control standards, and we might not identify the deficiency before merchandise ships to our pet care centers. Any issues of product safety or allegations that our products are in violation of governmental regulations, including, but not limited to, issues involving products manufactured in foreign countries, could cause those products to be recalled. If our vendors fail to manufacture or import merchandise that adheres to our quality control standards, product safety requirements or applicable governmental regulations, our reputation and brands could be damaged, potentially leading to increases in customer litigation against us. Further, to the extent we are unable to replace any recalled products, we may have to reduce our merchandise offerings, resulting in a decrease in sales. If our vendors are unable or unwilling to recall products failing to meet our quality standards, we may be required to recall those products at a substantial cost to us. Moreover, changes in product safety or other consumer protection laws could lead to increased costs to us for certain merchandise, or additional labor costs associated with readying merchandise for sale. Long lead times on merchandise ordering cycles increase the difficulty for us to plan and prepare for potential changes to applicable laws. In the event that we are unable to timely comply with regulatory changes or regulators do not believe we are complying with current regulations applicable to us, significant fines or penalties could result, and could adversely affect our reputation, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Fluctuations in the prices and availability of certain commodities, such as rawhide, grains, and meat protein, could materially adversely affect our operating results.

The pet food and supplies industry is subject to risks related to increases in the price of and the availability of certain commodities used in the production of certain pet food and other pet-related products, specifically seed, wheat, and rice, as well as other materials such as rawhide, that are used in certain pet accessories. Additionally, increased human consumption or population increases may potentially limit the supply of or increase prices for certain of meat proteins used in animal feed. Historically, in circumstances where these price increases have resulted in our manufacturers or vendors increasing the costs we pay for our food products, we have been able to pass these increases on to customers. However, our ability to pass on increased purchase costs in the future will be significantly impacted by market conditions and competitive factors. If we are unable to pass on any increased purchase costs to customers, we may experience reduced margins, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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Failure to establish, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights or prevent third parties from making unauthorized use of our technology or our brand could harm our competitive position or require us to incur significant expenses to enforce our rights.

Our trademarks, such as Bond & Co., Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, and You & Me are valuable assets that support our brand and consumers’ perception of our products. We rely on trademark, copyright, trade secret, patent, and other intellectual property laws, as well as nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements and other methods, to protect our trademarks, trade names, proprietary information, technologies, and processes. We might not be able to obtain broad protection in the United States for all of our intellectual property. The protection of our intellectual property rights may require the expenditure of significant financial, managerial and operational resources. Moreover, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property may not adequately protect our rights or prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating our proprietary rights, and we may be unable to broadly enforce all of our trademarks. Any of our patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights may be challenged by others or invalidated through administrative process or litigation. Our patent and trademark applications may never be granted. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may be unable to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. Even if issued, there can be no assurance that these patents will adequately protect our intellectual property, as the legal standards relating to the validity, enforceability and scope of protection of patent and other intellectual property rights are uncertain. We also cannot be certain that others will not independently develop or otherwise acquire equivalent or superior technology or intellectual property rights. Further, our nondisclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of our proprietary information, technologies and processes and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of such information, which could harm our competitive position. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may be unavailable or limited for some of our trademarks and patents in some foreign countries. We might be required to expend significant resources to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights. For example, we may need to engage in litigation or similar activities to enforce our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights of others. However, we may be unable to discover or determine the extent of any infringement, misappropriation, or other violation of our intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights. Despite our efforts, we may be unable to prevent third parties from infringing upon, misappropriating or otherwise violating our intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights. Any such litigation, whether or not resolved in our favor, could require us to expend significant resources and divert the efforts and attention of our management and other personnel from our business operations. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims or other allegations, which could result in substantial damages and diversion of management’s efforts and attention.

We have obligations with respect to the non-use and non-disclosure of third-party intellectual property. The steps we take to prevent misappropriation, infringement, or other violation of the intellectual property of others may not be successful. From time to time, third parties have asserted intellectual property infringement claims against us and may continue to do so in the future. These risks have been amplified by the increase in third parties whose sole or primary business is to assert such claims. While we believe that our products and operations do not infringe in any material respect upon proprietary rights of other parties and/or that meritorious defenses would exist with respect to any assertions to the contrary, we may from time to time be found to infringe on the proprietary rights of others.

Any claims that our products, services or marketing materials infringe the proprietary rights of third parties, regardless of their merit or resolution, could be costly, result in injunctions against us or

 

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payment of damages by us, and may divert the efforts and attention of our management and technical personnel. We may not prevail in such proceedings given the complex technical issues and inherent uncertainties in intellectual property litigation. If such proceedings result in an adverse outcome, we could, among other things, be required to:

 

   

pay substantial damages (potentially treble damages in the United States);

 

   

cease the manufacture, use, distribution, or sale of the infringing products, operations, or services;

 

   

discontinue the use of the infringing methods or processes;

 

   

expend significant resources to develop non-infringing products, operations, or services or re-brand our business and products; and

 

   

obtain a license from the third party claiming infringement, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or may not be available at all.

If any of the foregoing occurs, our ability to compete could be affected or our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Our real estate leases generally obligate us for long periods, which subjects us to various financial risks.

We lease virtually all of our pet care center and distribution center locations generally for long terms. While we have the right to terminate some of our leases under specified conditions by making specified payments, we may not be able to terminate a particular lease if or when we would like to do so. If we decide to close pet care centers, we are generally required to continue paying rent and operating expenses for the balance of the lease term, or to pay to exercise rights to terminate, and the performance of any of these obligations may be expensive. When we assign or sublease vacated locations, we may remain liable for the lease obligations if the assignee or sublessee does not perform. In addition, when leases for the pet care centers in our ongoing operations expire, we may be unable to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms, or at all, which could cause us to close pet care centers. Accordingly, we are subject to the risks associated with leasing real estate, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Further, the success of our pet care centers depends on a number of factors including the sustained success of the shopping center where the pet care center is located, consumer demographics, and consumer shopping habits and patterns. Changes in consumer shopping habits and patterns, reduced customer traffic in the shopping centers where our pet care centers are located, financial difficulties of our landlords, anchor tenants, or a significant number of other retailers, and shopping center vacancies or closures could impact the profitability of our pet care centers and increase the likelihood that our landlords fail to fulfill their obligations and conditions under our lease agreements. While we have certain remedies and protections under our lease agreements, the loss of business that could result if a shopping center should close or if customer traffic were to significantly decline as a result of lost tenants or improper care of the facilities or due to macroeconomic effects, including the impact of COVID-19, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

We are party to routine litigation arising in the ordinary course of our business and may become involved in additional litigation, all of which could require time and attention from certain members of management and result in significant legal expenses.

We are involved in litigation arising in the ordinary course of business, including claims related to federal or state wage and hour laws, working conditions, product liability, consumer protection, advertising, employment, intellectual property, tort, privacy and data protection, disputes with landlords and vendors due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, claims from customers or employees

 

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alleging failure to maintain safe premises with respect to protocols relating to COVID-19, and other matters. Even if we prevail, litigation can be time-consuming and expensive. An unfavorable outcome in one or more of these existing lawsuits, or future litigation to which we become a party, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Changes in laws, accounting standards, and subjective assumptions, estimates, and judgments by management related to complex accounting matters could significantly affect our financial results.

Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines, and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters relevant to our business are highly complex, continually evolving, and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates, and judgments by us. Changes in these rules or their interpretation, or changes in facts, underlying assumptions, estimates, or judgments by us could significantly impact our reported or expected financial performance.

Failure to attract and retain quality sales associates and experienced management personnel could adversely affect our performance.

Our performance depends on recruiting, developing, training, and retaining partners who are capable sales associates in large numbers and experienced management personnel. Our ability to meet our labor needs while controlling labor costs is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, minimum wage legislation, changing demographics, health and other insurance costs, and governmental labor and employment requirements. We have faced labor shortages and increased wage competition at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, which has adversely affected our results of operations. In the event of increasing wage rates, if we fail to increase our wages competitively, the quality of our workforce could decline, causing our customer service to suffer, while increasing our wages could cause our earnings to decrease. If we do not continue to attract, train, and retain quality associates and management personnel, our performance could be adversely affected.

Labor disputes may have an adverse effect on our operations.

We are not currently party to a collective bargaining agreement with any of our employees. If we were to experience a union organizing campaign, this activity could be disruptive to our operations. We cannot assure you that some or all of our employees will not become covered by a collective bargaining agreement or that we will not encounter labor conflicts or strikes. Any labor disruptions could have an adverse effect on our business or results of operations and could cause us to lose customers.

Claims under our insurance plans and policies may differ from our estimates, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

We use a combination of insurance and self-insurance plans to provide for potential liabilities for workers’ compensation, general liability, business interruption, property and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, vehicle liability, and employee health-care benefits. Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient, and any insurance proceeds may not be timely paid to us. In addition, liabilities associated with the risks that are retained by us are estimated, in part, by considering historical claims experience, demographic factors, severity factors, and other actuarial assumptions, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected if these assumptions are incorrect.

We are subject to environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations that could result in costs to us.

In connection with the ownership and operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers, we are subject to laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment and health and

 

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safety matters, including those governing the management and disposal of wastes and the cleanup of contaminated sites. We could incur costs, including fines and other sanctions, cleanup costs, and third-party claims, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations. Although we are not aware of any of our sites at which we currently have material remedial obligations, the imposition of remedial obligations as a result of the discovery of contaminants in the future could result in additional costs.

Resistance from veterinarians to authorize prescriptions or attempts/efforts on their part to discourage pet owners from purchasing from us could cause our sales to decrease and could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

The laws and regulations relating to the sale and delivery of prescription pet medications vary from state to state, but generally require that prescription pet medications be dispensed with authorization from a prescribing veterinarian. Some veterinarians may decide to resist providing our customers with a copy of their pet’s prescription or resist authorizing the prescription to the pharmacy staff of our fulfillment vendor, thereby effectively preventing us from filling such prescriptions under applicable law. Certain veterinarians may decide to discourage pet owners from purchasing from internet mail order pharmacies. If the number of veterinarians who refuse to authorize prescriptions to the pharmacy staff of our fulfillment vendor increases, or if veterinarians are successful in discouraging pet owners from purchasing from us, our sales could decrease and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We may fail to comply with various state or federal regulations covering the dispensing of prescription pet medications, including controlled substances, through our veterinary services businesses, which may subject us to reprimands, sanctions, probations, fines, or suspensions.

The sale and delivery of prescription pet medications and controlled substances through our veterinary services businesses are governed by extensive regulation and oversight by federal and state governmental authorities. The laws and regulations governing our operations and interpretations of those laws and regulations are increasing in number and complexity, change frequently, and can be inconsistent or conflicting. In addition, the governmental authorities that regulate our business have broad latitude to make, interpret, and enforce the laws and regulations that govern our operations and continue to interpret and enforce those laws and regulations more strictly and more aggressively each year. In the future, we may be subject to routine administrative complaints incidental to the dispensing of prescription pet medications through our veterinary services businesses.

If we are unable to maintain the licenses granted by relevant state authorities in connection with our dispensing of prescription pet medications, or if we become subject to actions by the FDA, the DEA, or other regulators, our dispensing of prescription medications to pet parents could cease and we may be subject to reprimands, sanctions, probations, or fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our results may be adversely affected by serious disruptions or catastrophic events, including public health issues, geopolitical events, and weather.

Geopolitical events, such as war or civil unrest in a country in which our vendors are located, or terrorist or military activities disrupting transportation, communication, or utility systems, local protests, and unrest and natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and other adverse weather and climate conditions, whether occurring in the United States or abroad, particularly during peak seasonal periods, could disrupt our operations or the operations of one or more of our vendors, or could severely damage or destroy one or more of our pet care centers or distribution centers located in the affected areas. For example, day-to-day operations, particularly our ability to receive products from our vendors or transport products to our pet care centers, could be adversely affected, or we could be required to close pet care centers or distribution centers in the affected areas or in areas served by the affected distribution center. These factors could also cause consumer

 

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confidence and spending to decrease or result in increased volatility in the United States and global financial markets and economy. These or other occurrences could significantly impact our operating results and financial performance.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flows and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under existing debt agreements.

As of October 31, 2020, we and our subsidiaries had approximately $3,301 million of indebtedness outstanding ($2,405 million under the term loan facility, $750 million in Floating Rate Senior Notes, $132 million in 3.00% Senior Notes, and $14 million in finance lease obligations). As of October 31, 2020, $390 million of unused commitments were available to be borrowed under the revolving credit facility (as defined herein). This amount is net of $62 million of outstanding letters of credit and a $48 million borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets, net of reserves. Although we intend to repay a portion of our outstanding indebtedness as described in the “Use of Proceeds” section of this prospectus, we expect availability on our revolving credit facility to remain unchanged, subject to normal working capital requirements and borrowing base adjustments, and we will continue to have substantial indebtedness following completion of this offering, which could restrict our operations and could have important consequences. For example, it could:

 

   

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our existing indebtedness;

 

   

increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;

 

   

require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flows to fund working capital and capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes;

 

   

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and industry, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt;

 

   

restrict us from making strategic acquisitions or other investments or cause us to make non-strategic divestitures; and

 

   

limit, along with the financial and other restrictive covenants in the documents governing our indebtedness, among other things, our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital and capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes.

Please read “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion” for more information regarding the recapitalization of our company that will be effected substantially contemporaneously with the completion of this offering, and please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” and “Description of Indebtedness” for descriptions of the senior secured credit facilities that will remain in place following the completion of this offering.

The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests.

The term loan facility and revolving credit facility all impose material restrictions on us. These restrictions, subject in certain cases to ordinary course of business and other exceptions, may limit our ability to engage in some transactions, including the following:

 

   

incurring additional debt;

 

   

paying dividends, redeeming capital stock, or making other restricted payments or investments;

 

   

selling assets, properties, or licenses;

 

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creating liens on assets;

 

   

entering into sale and lease-back transactions;

 

   

undergoing a change in control;

 

   

merging, consolidating, or disposing of substantially all assets;

 

   

entering into new lines of business;

 

   

entering into transactions with affiliates; and

 

   

placing restrictions on the ability of subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other payments.

Any of these restrictions on our ability to operate our business in our discretion could adversely affect our business by, among other things, limiting our ability to adapt to changing economic, financial, or industry conditions and to take advantage of corporate opportunities, including opportunities to obtain debt financing, repurchase stock, refinance or pay principal on our outstanding debt, or complete acquisitions for cash or debt.

Any future debt that we incur may contain financial maintenance covenants. In addition, the revolving credit facility contains financial maintenance covenants that are triggered by certain conditions. Events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial, and industry conditions, could affect our ability to satisfy these financial maintenance covenants, and we cannot assure you that the we will satisfy them.

Any failure to comply with the restrictions of the term loan facility, revolving credit facility, and any subsequent financing agreements, including as a result of events beyond our control, may result in an event of default under these agreements, which in turn may result in defaults or acceleration of obligations under these agreements and other agreements, giving our lenders and other debt holders the right to terminate any commitments they may have made to provide us with further funds and to require us to repay all amounts then outstanding. Our assets and cash flow may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments. In addition, we may not be able to refinance or restructure the payments on the applicable debt. Even if we were able to secure additional financing, it may not be available on favorable terms.

Despite current indebtedness levels, we may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. This could further increase the risks associated with our substantial leverage.

We may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, which would increase our debt service obligations and could further reduce the cash available to invest in operations. The terms of the credit agreements governing the senior secured credit facilities allow us and our subsidiaries to incur additional indebtedness, subject to limitations. As of October 31, 2020, we and our subsidiaries had an additional $390 million of unused commitments available to be borrowed under the revolving credit facility. This amount is net of $62 million of outstanding letters of credit and a $48 million borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets, net of reserves. If new debt is added to our debt levels, or any debt is incurred by our subsidiaries, the related risks that we and our subsidiaries now face could increase.

To service our indebtedness, we will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate or access cash depends on many factors beyond our control.

Our ability to make payments on and refinance our indebtedness and to fund planned capital expenditures, will depend on our ability to generate or access cash in the future. This ability is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, and other factors that are beyond our control.

We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flows from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under the senior secured asset-based revolving credit

 

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facility in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs. Further, we cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, including the senior secured credit facilities, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in the credit agreements for the senior secured credit facilities, including as a result of events beyond our control, could result in an event of default that could cause repayment of our debt to be accelerated.

If we are not able to comply with the covenants and other requirements contained in the credit agreements governing the senior secured credit facilities or any other debt instruments, an event of default under the relevant debt instrument could occur. In addition to imposing restrictions on our business and operations, some of our debt instruments include covenants relating to financial ratios and tests. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial, and industry conditions. The breach of any of these covenants would result in a default under these instruments. If an event of default does occur under one of these agreements, it could trigger a default under our other debt instruments, prohibit us from accessing additional borrowings, and permit the holders of the defaulted debt to declare amounts outstanding with respect to that debt to be immediately due and payable. Our assets and cash flows may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments. In addition, we may not be able to refinance or restructure the payments on the applicable debt. Even if we were able to secure additional financing, it may not be available on favorable terms.

The amount of borrowings permitted under the revolving credit facility may fluctuate significantly, which may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.

The amount of borrowings permitted at any one time under the revolving credit facility is subject to a borrowing base valuation of the collateral thereunder, net of certain reserves. As a result, our access to credit under the revolving credit facility is potentially subject to significant fluctuations depending on the value of the borrowing base of eligible assets as of any measurement date, as well as certain discretionary rights of the agents in respect of the calculation of such borrowing base value. The inability to borrow under the revolving credit facility may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.

Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our indebtedness service obligations to increase significantly.

Borrowings under the senior secured credit facilities are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness would increase even though the amount borrowed remains the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, would correspondingly decrease. Although we may enter into agreements limiting our exposure to higher interest rates, these agreements may not be effective.

A ratings downgrade or other negative action by a ratings organization could adversely affect the trading price of the shares of our Class A common stock.

Credit rating agencies continually revise their ratings for companies they follow. The condition of the financial and credit markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future. In addition, developments in our business and operations could lead to a ratings downgrade for us or our subsidiaries. Any fluctuation in the rating of us or our subsidiaries may impact our ability to access debt markets in the future or increase our cost of future debt, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition and may adversely affect the trading price of shares of our Class A common stock.

 

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Changes affecting the availability of LIBOR may have consequences for us that cannot yet be reasonably predicted.

We have outstanding debt with variable interest rates based on the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). Advances under the revolving credit facility and the term loan facility generally bear interest based on (i) the Eurodollar Rate (as defined in our credit agreements and calculated using LIBOR) or (ii) the Base Rate (as defined in our credit agreements). The LIBOR benchmark has been the subject of national, international, and other regulatory guidance and proposals to reform. In July 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced that it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. These reforms may cause LIBOR to perform differently than it has in the past, and LIBOR may ultimately cease to exist after 2021. Alternative benchmark rates may replace LIBOR and could affect our debt securities, debt payments, and receipts. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any changes to LIBOR, any phase out of LIBOR, or any establishment of alternative benchmark rates. Any new benchmark rate will likely not replicate LIBOR exactly, which could impact our contracts that terminate after 2021. There is uncertainty about how applicable law and the courts will address the replacement of LIBOR with alternative rates on variable rate retail loan contracts and other contracts that do not include alternative rate fallback provisions. If LIBOR ceases to exist after 2021, the interest rates on the revolving credit facility and the term loan facility will be based on the Base Rate or an alternative benchmark rate, which may result in higher interest rates. In addition, any changes to benchmark rates may have an uncertain impact on our cost of funds and our access to the capital markets, which could impact our results of operations and cash flows. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may also adversely affect the trading market for our securities.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our Sponsors will continue to have significant influence over us after this offering, including control over decisions that require the approval of stockholders, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to stockholders for a vote.

We are currently controlled, and after this offering is completed will continue to be controlled, by our Sponsors through our Principal Stockholder. After giving effect to the Recapitalization, the Corporate Conversion, and the completion of this offering, our Sponsors will control     % of the outstanding voting power of our company. As long as our Sponsors beneficially own or control at least a majority of our outstanding voting power, they will have the ability to exercise substantial control over all corporate actions requiring stockholder approval, irrespective of how our other stockholders may vote, including the election and removal of directors and the size of our board of directors, any amendment of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or the approval of any merger or other significant corporate transaction, including a sale of substantially all of our assets. Even if their ownership falls below 50%, our Sponsors will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions.

Additionally, our Sponsors’ interests may not align with the interests of our other stockholders. Our Sponsors, and other investment funds affiliated with them, are in the business of making investments in companies and may acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. Our Sponsors, and other investment funds affiliated with them, may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules and, as a result, expect to qualify for, and intend to rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.

After completion of this offering, our Sponsors, through our Principal Stockholder, will continue to control a majority of the voting power of our common stock with respect to director elections. As a

 

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result, we will be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of Nasdaq. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power with respect to director elections is held by an individual, group, or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including:

 

   

the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors;

 

   

the requirement that our nominating and corporate governance committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and

 

   

the requirement that our compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities.

Following this offering, we intend to utilize one or more of these exemptions. As a result, we will not have a majority of independent directors and our Compensation Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee will not consist entirely of independent directors. Accordingly, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of Nasdaq.

Our Sponsors are not subject to any contractual obligation to retain their controlling interest, except that they have agreed, subject to certain exceptions, not to sell or otherwise dispose of any shares of our Class A common stock or other securities exercisable or convertible into our Class A common stock for a period of at least 180 days after the date of this prospectus without the prior written consent of                 . We cannot assure you as to the period of time during which any of our Sponsors will in fact maintain their control of our Class A common stock following the offering.

Certain of our directors have relationships with our Sponsors, which may cause conflicts of interest with respect to our business.

Following this offering,                 of our                  directors will be affiliated with our Sponsors. These directors have fiduciary duties to us and, in addition, have duties to the applicable Sponsor or stockholder affiliate. As a result, these directors may face real or apparent conflicts of interest with respect to matters affecting both us and the affiliated Sponsors, whose interests may be adverse to ours in some circumstances.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management, and may adversely affect the market price of our stock.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, which will be in effect upon the completion of this offering following the Corporate Conversion, may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws will include provisions that:

 

   

provide that, except with regard to directors nominated by our Principal Stockholder, vacancies on our board of directors shall be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director;

 

   

establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving three-year staggered terms;

 

   

provide that our directors can be removed for cause only, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock;

 

   

provide that, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A

 

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common stock and Class B-1 common stock, any action required or permitted to be taken by the stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and may not be effected by any consent in writing in lieu of a meeting of such stockholders;

 

   

specify that, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock, special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, or the Chairman of our board of directors (prior to such time, special meetings of the stockholders of our company shall be called by the Chairman of our board of directors or our Secretary at the request of our Principal Stockholder, in addition to being able to be called by the Chairman of our board of directors and by our board of directors);

 

   

require the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of all outstanding stock entitled to vote thereon, voting together as a single class, to amend or repeal our bylaws and certain articles of our certificate of incorporation once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) ceases to beneficially own at least 50% of the Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock;

 

   

establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;

 

   

authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, shares of undesignated preferred stock; and

 

   

reflect three classes of common stock.

These and other provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, we will be a Delaware corporation and governed by the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”). In general, Section 203 of the DGCL, an anti-takeover law, prohibits a publicly held Delaware corporation from engaging in a business combination, such as a merger, with a person or group owning 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock, which person or group is considered an interested stockholder under the DGCL, for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder, unless (with certain exceptions) the business combination or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder is approved in a prescribed manner. We intend to elect in our certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203. However, our certificate of incorporation will contain provisions that have the same effect as Section 203, except that they will provide our Sponsors, our Principal Stockholder, their affiliates, and their respective successors (other than our company), as well as their direct and indirect transferees, will not be deemed to be “interested stockholders,” regardless of the percentage of our voting stock owned by them, and accordingly will not be subject to such restrictions. For additional details, read “Description of Capital Stock.”

Since we have no current plans to pay regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock following this offering, you may not receive any return on investment unless you sell your Class A common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.

We do not anticipate paying any regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock following this offering. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our financial condition, results of operations, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends is, and may be, limited by covenants of existing and any future outstanding indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur, including under the senior secured credit facilities. Therefore, any return on investment in our Class A common stock is solely dependent upon the appreciation of the price of our Class A common stock on the open market, which may not occur. Please read “Dividend Policy” for more detail.

 

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We are a holding company with nominal net worth and will depend on dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to pay any dividends.

PET Acquisition LLC and Petco Holdings, Inc. LLC are holding companies with nominal net worth. We do not have any material assets or conduct any business operations other than our investments in our subsidiaries. Our business operations are conducted primarily out of our indirect operating subsidiary, Petco Animal Supplies and its subsidiaries. As a result, in addition to the restrictions on payment of dividends that apply under the terms of our existing indebtedness, our ability to pay dividends, if any, will be dependent upon cash dividends and distributions or other transfers from our subsidiaries, including from Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc. Payments to us by our subsidiaries will be contingent upon their respective earnings and subject to any limitations on the ability of such entities to make payments or other distributions to us.

The multi-class structure of our common stock may adversely affect the trading market for our Class A common stock.

In July 2017, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell announced changes to their eligibility criteria for the inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the S&P MidCap 400 and the S&P SmallCap 600, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares of common stock from being added to these indices. As a result, our multi-class capital structure makes us ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices, and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not be investing in our stock. Further, we cannot assure you that other stock indices will not take a similar approach to S&P Dow Jones or FTSE Russell in the future. Exclusion from indices could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors and, as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.

Our certificate of incorporation will designate the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, and the federal district courts as the exclusive forum for Securities Act claims, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain what such stockholders believe to be a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, other employees, or agents.

Our certificate of incorporation will provide that, unless we, in writing, select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, all complaints asserting any internal corporate claims (defined as claims, including claims in the right of our company: (i) that are based upon a violation of a duty by a current or former director, officer, employee, or stockholder in such capacity; or (ii) as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction upon the Court of Chancery), to the fullest extent permitted by law, and subject to applicable jurisdictional requirements, shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have, or declines to accept, subject matter jurisdiction, another state court or a federal court located within the State of Delaware). Further, unless we select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Our choice-of-forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in our common stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum selection provisions described in our certificate of incorporation. These choice-of-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and such persons. It is possible that a court may find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, in which case we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially

 

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adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.

General Risk Factors

As a public company, we will become subject to additional laws, regulations, and stock exchange listing standards, which will impose additional costs on us and divert our management’s attention.

We have operated our business as a private company since October 2006. After this offering, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the listing requirements of Nasdaq, and other applicable securities laws and regulations. Compliance with these laws and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly. For example, the Exchange Act will require us, among other things, to file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. We also expect that being a public company and being subject to new rules and regulations will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These additional requirements will impose significant additional costs on us and may divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.

An active, liquid trading market for our Class A common stock may not develop, which may limit your ability to sell your shares.

Prior to this offering, there was no public market for our Class A common stock. Although we have applied to list our Class A common stock on Nasdaq under the symbol “WOOF,” an active trading market for our shares may never develop or be sustained following this offering. The initial public offering price will be determined by negotiations between us and the underwriters and may not be indicative of market prices of our Class A common stock that will prevail in the open market after the offering. A public trading market having the desirable characteristics of depth, liquidity, and orderliness depends upon the existence of willing buyers and sellers at any given time, and its existence is dependent upon the individual decisions of buyers and sellers over which neither we nor any market maker has control. The failure of an active and liquid trading market to develop and continue would likely have a material adverse effect on the value of our Class A common stock. The market price of our Class A common stock may decline below the initial public offering price, and you may not be able to sell your shares of our Class A common stock at or above the price you paid in this offering, or at all. An inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.

Our operating results and share price may be volatile, and the market price of our Class A common stock after this offering may drop below the price you pay.

Our quarterly operating results are likely to fluctuate in the future as a publicly traded company. In addition, securities markets worldwide have experienced, and are likely to continue to experience, significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market, or political conditions, could subject the market price of our shares to wide price fluctuations regardless of our operating performance. You may not be able to resell your shares at or above the initial public offering price or at all. Our operating results and the trading price of our shares may fluctuate in response to various factors, including:

 

   

market conditions in the broader stock market;

 

   

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial and operating results;

 

   

introduction of new products or services by us or our competitors;

 

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issuance of new or changed securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

 

   

changes in debt ratings;

 

   

results of operations that vary from expectations of securities analysts and investors;

 

   

guidance, if any, that we provide to the public, any changes in this guidance or our failure to meet this guidance;

 

   

strategic actions by us or our competitors;

 

   

announcement by us, our competitors, or our vendors of significant contracts or acquisitions;

 

   

sales, or anticipated sales, of large blocks of our stock;

 

   

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

   

regulatory, legal, or political developments;

 

   

public response to press releases or other public announcements by us or third parties, including our filings with the SEC;

 

   

litigation and governmental investigations;

 

   

changing economic conditions;

 

   

changes in accounting principles;

 

   

default under agreements governing our indebtedness; and

 

   

other events or factors, including those from natural disasters, pandemic, pet disease, war, acts of terrorism, or responses to these events.

These and other factors, many of which are beyond our control, may cause our operating results and the market price and demand for our shares to fluctuate substantially. While we believe that operating results for any particular quarter are not necessarily a meaningful indication of future results, fluctuations in our quarterly operating results could limit or prevent investors from readily selling their shares and may otherwise negatively affect the market price and liquidity of our shares. In addition, in the past, when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have sometimes brought securities class action litigation against the company that issued the stock. If any of our stockholders brought a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial costs defending the lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could also divert the time and attention of our management from our business, which could significantly harm our profitability and reputation.

If you purchase shares of Class A common stock in this offering, you will suffer immediate and substantial dilution to the net tangible book value per share of your investment.

The initial public offering price of our Class A common stock is substantially higher than the net tangible book deficit per share of our Class A common stock. Therefore, if you purchase shares of our Class A common stock in this offering, you will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our net tangible book deficit per share after this offering. Based on an assumed initial public offering price of $                 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range on the cover of this prospectus, you will experience immediate dilution of $                 per share, representing the difference between our pro forma net tangible book deficit per share after giving effect to this offering and the initial public offering price. In addition, purchasers of our Class A common stock in this offering will have paid                 % of the aggregate price paid by all purchasers of our Class A common stock but will own only approximately                 % of our Class A common stock outstanding after this offering. We also have a large number of outstanding stock options to purchase Class A common stock with exercise prices that are below the estimated initial public offering price of our Class A common stock. To the extent that these options are exercised, you will experience further dilution. Please read “Dilution” for more detail.

 

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Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted by future issuances of capital stock, which could reduce your influence over matters on which stockholders vote.

Pursuant to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, our board of directors will have the authority, without action or vote of our stockholders, to issue all or any part of our authorized but unissued shares of common stock, including shares issuable upon the exercise of options, or shares of our authorized but unissued preferred stock. Issuances of common stock or voting preferred stock would reduce your influence over matters on which our stockholders vote and, in the case of issuances of preferred stock, would likely result in your interest in us being subject to the prior rights of holders of that preferred stock. Moreover, the ability of holders of Class B-1 common stock to convert each of their shares into one share of Class A common stock, subject to the transfer to us of an equivalent number of shares of Class B-2 common stock, may increase the number of outstanding shares of Class A common stock; however, such conversion rights will not dilute or otherwise affect the voting rights of the holders of Class A common stock because Class B-1 common stock and Class B-2 common stock taken on a combined basis will have the same voting rights as Class A common stock.

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future. This could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our Class A common stock. After this offering, we will have outstanding                  shares of Class A common stock based on the number of shares outstanding as of                 . Substantially all of the shares that are not being sold in this offering will be subject to a 180-day lock-up period provided under agreements executed in connection with this offering. These shares will, however, be able to be resold after the expiration of the lock-up agreements described in the “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” and “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)” sections of this prospectus. We also intend to file a Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register all shares of Class A common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation plans. In addition, our Principal Stockholder will have demand registration rights that will require us to file registration statements in connection with future sales of our stock by our Principal Stockholder, including in connection with the note purchase agreement described below. Please read “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions—Registration Rights Agreement.” Sales by our Principal Stockholder could be significant. Once we register these shares, they can be freely resold in the public market, subject to legal or contractual restrictions, such as the lock-up agreements described in the “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest)” section of this prospectus. As restrictions on resale end, the market price of our stock could decline if the holders of currently restricted shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them. Lastly, in connection with the closing of this offering, our Principal Stockholder is expected to enter into a note purchase agreement. The obligations under the note purchase agreement will be secured by a pledge of all of the shares of our common stock owned by our Principal Stockholder and its affiliates. If our Principal Stockholder were to default on any of its obligations under the note purchase agreement or in the event of a collateral deficiency the holders would have the right to foreclose on all of our common stock subject to the pledge and sell such shares of common stock. Such an event could further cause our stock price to decline and could result in a change in control of our company that could trigger a default under, or acceleration of, the obligations under our term loan facility and revolving credit facility. Certain affiliates of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, together with other investors, will be holders of the notes governed by this note purchase agreement and will not be subject to a lock-up agreement in the event of a foreclosure on our common stock. Any foreclosure on our common stock which secures obligations under the note purchase agreement could result in the sale of a significant number of shares of our common stock, which could result in a decrease in the price of our common stock.

 

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our shares, or if our results of operations do not meet their expectations, our share price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our shares likely will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our share price or trading volume to decline. Moreover, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock, or if our results of operations do not meet their expectations, our share price could decline.

If our operating and financial performance in any given period does not meet the guidance that we have provided to the public or the expectations of our investors and analysts, our stock price may decline.

We anticipate providing guidance on our expected operating and financial results for future periods on an annual basis only, as we believe this approach is better aligned with the long-term view we take in managing our business and our focus on long-term stockholder value creation. Although we believe that this guidance will provide investors and analysts with a better understanding of management’s expectations for the future and is useful to our stockholders and potential stockholders, such guidance comprises forward-looking statements subject to the risks and uncertainties described in this prospectus and in our other public filings and public statements. Our actual results may not always be in line with or exceed the guidance we have provided or the expectations of our investors and analysts, especially in times of economic uncertainty. If, in the future, our operating or financial results for a particular period do not meet our guidance or the expectations of our investors and analysts or if we reduce our guidance for future periods, our share price could decline.

If our internal control over financial reporting or our disclosure controls and procedures are not effective, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results, prevent fraud, or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.

Prior to the completion of this offering, we were a private company and have not been subject to the internal control and financial reporting requirements that are required of a publicly traded company. We will be required to comply with the requirements of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), following the date we are deemed to be an “accelerated filer” or a “large accelerated filer,” each as defined in the Exchange Act, which could be as early as our first fiscal year beginning after the effective date of this offering. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls, and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluation, document our controls and perform testing of our key control over financial reporting to allow management and our independent public accounting firm to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses. If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, or if we or our accounting firm identifies deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, the market price of our stock would likely decline and we could be subject to lawsuits, sanctions or investigations by regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources.

 

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Unanticipated changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to taxes by the U.S. federal, state, and local tax authorities, and our tax liabilities will be affected by the allocation of expenses to differing jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rates could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by a number of factors, including:

 

   

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

   

expected timing and amount of the release of any tax valuation allowances;

 

   

tax effects of stock-based compensation; or

 

   

changes in tax laws, regulations, or interpretations thereof.

In addition, we may be subject to audits of our income, sales, and other transaction taxes by U.S. federal, state, and local taxing authorities. Outcomes from these audits could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

 

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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements contained in this prospectus concerning expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, or performance and underlying assumptions and other statements that are other than statements of historical fact are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although we believe that the expectations and assumptions reflected in these statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that these expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in such forward-looking statements. In addition to the specific factors discussed in “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” the following are among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements:

 

   

general economic factors, a decline in consumer spending or changes in consumer preferences, or failure to successfully predict and respond to changing consumer trends and demand;

 

   

any damage to our reputation or our brand;

 

   

competition, including internet-based competition;

 

   

difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians;

 

   

challenges associated with integrating and growing our e-commerce business;

 

   

failure to successfully execute our growth strategies, including expanding our veterinary service offerings and building out our digital and data capabilities, or manage and sustain our recent growth;

 

   

failure to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth;

 

   

the loss of key personnel or our principal executive officers;

 

   

the loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors;

 

   

health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19, and the actions taken by third parties, including, but not limited to, governmental authorities, customers, contractors, and vendors, in response to such epidemics or pandemics;

 

   

a disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion, or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain that would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses;

 

   

the effects of government regulation, permitting, and other legal requirements, including new legislation or regulation related to our veterinary services;

 

   

breaches of, or interruptions in, our or our vendors’ data security and information systems, or cyber-attacks that disrupt our information systems;

 

   

pet food safety, quality, and health concerns;

 

   

our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and limit our ability to pursue our growth strategy;

 

   

the impact of current and potential changes to federal or state tax rules and regulations; and

 

   

other factors described under “Risk Factors.”

Any of the foregoing events or factors, or other events or factors, could cause actual results, including financial performance, to vary materially from the forward-looking statements included in this prospectus. Additionally, the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic may give rise to risks that are currently unknown or amplify the risks associated with many of these factors. You should

 

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consider these important factors, as well as the risk factors set forth in this prospectus, in evaluating any statement made in this prospectus. Please read “Risk Factors” for more information. For the foregoing reasons, you are cautioned against relying on any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this prospectus. While we believe that information provides a reasonable basis for these statements, that information may be limited or incomplete. Our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on these statements.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We expect to receive approximately $             million of net proceeds from this offering (or $             million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of our Class A common stock), based upon the assumed initial public offering price of $             per share (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to pay the accrued but unpaid interest on the exchanged Floating Rate Senior Notes and to redeem in full the remaining $300 million aggregate principal amount, plus accrued but unpaid interest, of the Floating Rate Senior Notes that remain outstanding after the Recapitalization and the remainder of the proceeds, plus cash on hand, to repay a portion of the term loan facility.

The Floating Rate Senior Notes mature on January 26, 2024 and had a weighted average interest rate of 9.1% as of October 31, 2020. Certain affiliates of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC are holders of our Floating Rate Senior Notes and will receive a portion of the proceeds of this offering utilized to redeem the Floating Rate Senior Notes that remain outstanding after the Recapitalization. See “Underwriting (Conflicts of Interest).” The term loan facility matures on January 26, 2023 and had a weighted average interest rate on the borrowings outstanding of 4.3% as of October 31, 2020.

Assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares, each $1.00 change in the assumed initial public offering price of $             per share (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) would cause the net proceeds from this offering, after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, to change by approximately $             million, assuming no change to the number of shares of our Class A common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus. Similarly, an increase (decrease) of one million shares of common stock sold in this offering by us would increase (decrease) our net proceeds by $             million, assuming the initial public offering price of $            per share, (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) remains the same and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. If the proceeds increase for any reason, we would use the additional net proceeds for other general corporate purposes. If the proceeds decrease for any reason, then we expect that we would retain less net proceeds for general corporate purposes.

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

We do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends to holders of our Class A common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain future earnings, if any, to finance the growth of our business. Our future dividend policy is within the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon then-existing conditions, including our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, investment opportunities, statutory restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant. Please read “Risk Factors—The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources,” and “Description of Indebtedness” for descriptions of restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.

 

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RECAPITALIZATION AND CORPORATE CONVERSION

Recapitalization

Substantially contemporaneously with the completion of this offering, we will participate in certain transactions described below, which will collectively have the net effect of reducing our indebtedness and increasing our stockholders’ equity.

3.00% Senior Notes

Prior to the completion of this offering, the noteholders, including Scooby LP, will contribute to us $132 million aggregate principal amount of our outstanding 3.00% Senior Notes, which were issued to certain equityholders, including Scooby LP, as a means of facilitating a potential distribution of cash to such equityholders, plus accrued but unpaid interest. After accounting for an offset of certain inter-company indebtedness, we will cancel the 3.00% Senior Notes and record the cancellation as a capital contribution by the noteholders to us. For more information about the 3.00% Senior Notes, please read “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions—Related Party Transactions—3.00% Senior Notes” and Note 9 to our historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Floating Rate Senior Notes

Substantially contemporaneously with the completion of this offering, holders of $750 million aggregate principal amount of Petco Animal Supplies’ outstanding Floating Rate Senior Unsecured Notes (the “Floating Rate Senior Notes”), which were issued in a private placement offering in January 2016 to finance the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement, will exchange $450 million aggregate principal amount of such notes for a series of new notes to be issued by our Principal Stockholder. Our Principal Stockholder will contribute the Floating Rate Senior Notes to us, which we will cancel and record as a capital contribution by our Principal Stockholder to us. For more information about the Floating Rate Senior Notes, please read Note 9 to our historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

After the exchange described above, there will be $300 million aggregate principal amount of Floating Rate Senior Notes outstanding. We intend to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to pay the accrued but unpaid interest on the exchanged Floating Rate Senior Notes and to redeem in full all of the remaining Floating Rate Senior Notes for a redemption price equal to the principal amount plus accrued but unpaid interest. Please read “Use of Proceeds.”

Corporate Conversion

We currently operate as a Delaware limited liability company under the name PET Acquisition LLC. Prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, PET Acquisition LLC will convert into a Delaware corporation pursuant to a statutory conversion and change its name to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

Prior to our conversion to a corporation, Scooby LP will transfer all of the units of PET Acquisition LLC that it holds to our Principal Stockholder, an entity to be formed for the sole purpose of holding our equity. Such transfer is not a necessary step of the Corporation Conversion but facilitates the exchange of the Floating Rate Senior Notes described in “—Recapitalization—Floating Rate Senior Notes.”

In connection with the Corporate Conversion, and prior to the closing of this offering, all of the outstanding units of PET Acquisition LLC will be converted into an aggregate of                 shares of our common stock.                 shares of our common stock will be designated Class A common stock, and                 shares of our common stock will be designated Class B-1 common stock, with an equal number (                 shares of our common stock) designated Class B-2 common stock. The number of

 

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shares of Class A common stock and Class B-1 and Class B-2 common stock to be issued in connection with the Corporate Conversion will be determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of the plan of conversion. We will issue such number of shares of Class B-1 common stock and B-2 common stock as is necessary to facilitate CPP Investments’ compliance with certain regulations under the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act that restrict CPP Investments from directly or indirectly investing in securities of a corporation that carry more than 30% of the votes that may be cast for the election of directors of the corporation. For more information on the shares of Class B-2 common stock subject to such regulations, please read footnote (6) to the table in “Principal Stockholders.”

We expect to be controlled, through our Principal Stockholder, by our Sponsors following the Corporate Conversion. After giving effect to the Corporate Conversion and the completion of this offering, our Sponsors will control     % of the voting power of our company. For more information on the indirect ownership of our common stock by our Sponsors and the voting and economic rights associated with each class of our common stock, please read “Principal Stockholders” and “Description of Capital Stock,” respectively.

Following the Corporate Conversion, Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. will continue to hold all the property and assets of PET Acquisition LLC and will assume all of the debts and obligations of PET Acquisition LLC, subject to the exchange of the Floating Rate Senior Notes described in “—Recapitalization—Floating Rate Senior Notes.” Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. will be governed by a certificate of incorporation filed with the Delaware Secretary of State and bylaws, the material provisions of which are described in the section captioned “Description of Capital Stock.”

The purpose of the Corporate Conversion is to reorganize our corporate structure so that the top-tier entity in our corporate structure—the entity that is offering Class A common stock to the public in this offering—is a corporation rather than a limited liability company and so that our existing investors will own our common stock rather than membership units in a limited liability company.

Except as otherwise noted herein, the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus are those of PET Acquisition LLC and its consolidated operations. We do not expect that the Corporate Conversion will have a material effect on the results of our core operations.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth our cash and cash equivalents and capitalization as of October 31, 2020:

 

   

on a historical basis;

 

   

on a pro forma basis to give effect to (i) the Recapitalization and (ii) the Corporate Conversion; and

 

   

on a pro forma as adjusted basis to reflect the sale of shares of our Class A common stock in this offering at an assumed initial offering price of $        per share, which is the midpoint of the range set forth on the cover this prospectus, and the application of the net proceeds from this offering to repay debt as described under “Use of Proceeds.”

This table is derived from, should be read together with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the historical consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. You should also read this table in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

 

     As of October 31, 2020  
     Actual     Pro
Forma
     Pro
Forma As
Adjusted
 
(dollars in millions)                    

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 196     $ 196      $                
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Long-term debt, including current portions:

       

Senior secured credit facilities:

       

Revolving Credit Facility(1)

   $     $      $  

Term Loan Facility

     2,405       2,405     

Floating Rate Senior Notes

     750       300         

3.00% Senior Notes

     132               

Finance lease obligations

     14       14        14  
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total debt(2)

     3,301       2,719     
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Members’ equity:

       

Members’ interest

     1,366               

Accumulated deficit

     (801             

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

     (6             
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Members’ equity

     559               
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Noncontrolling interest

     (13             
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total equity

     546               
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

       

Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share (no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual;             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma; and             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma as adjusted)

           

Class B-1 common stock, par value $0.001 per share (no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual;             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma; and             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma as adjusted)(3)

           

 

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     As of October 31, 2020  
     Actual      Pro
Forma
    Pro
Forma As
Adjusted
 
(dollars in millions)                    

Class B-2 common stock, par value $0.001 per share (no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual;             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma; and             authorized shares and             issued and outstanding shares, pro forma as adjusted)(4)

           

Preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share (             authorized shares, actual and as adjusted)

                   

Paid in capital

            1,948    

Accumulated deficit

            (801  

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

            (6                   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity

            1,141    
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Noncontrolling interest

            (13  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total equity

            1,128    
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 3,847      $ 3,847     $    
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

As of October 31, 2020, there were no outstanding borrowings under the revolving credit facility and $390 million of available capacity, which is net of $62 million of outstanding letters of credit and a $48 million borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets, net of reserves.

(2)

Excludes the impact of original issue discounts and debt issuance costs of $63 million.

(3)

The rights of the holders of our Class A common stock and our Class B-1 common stock are identical in all respects, except that our Class B-1 common stock does not vote on the election or removal of our directors.

(4)

The rights of the holders of our Class B-2 common stock differ from the rights of the holders of our Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock in that holders of our Class B-2 common stock only possess the right to vote on the election or removal of our directors.

 

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DILUTION

Purchasers of our Class A common stock in this offering will experience immediate and substantial dilution in the net tangible book value per share of our Class A common stock for accounting purposes. Our net tangible book value as of October 31, 2020 was approximately $                million, or $        per share.

After giving effect to the Recapitalization and the Corporate Conversion, pro forma net tangible book value per share is determined by dividing our net tangible book value, or total tangible assets less total liabilities, by the number of shares of our Class A common stock that will be outstanding immediately prior to the completion of this offering. Assuming an initial public offering price of $                (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), after giving effect to the sale of our Class A common stock in this offering and further assuming the receipt of the estimated net proceeds (after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us), our adjusted pro forma net tangible book value as of                would have been approximately $                million, or $        per share. This represents an immediate increase in the net tangible book value of $        per share to our existing stockholders and an immediate dilution to new investors purchasing shares in this offering of $        per share, resulting from the difference between the offering price and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value after this offering. The following table illustrates the per share dilution to new investors purchasing shares in this offering:

 

Assumed initial public offering price per share

      $                
     

 

 

 

Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of October 31, 2020

   $                   
  

 

 

    

Increase per share attributable to new investors in this offering

     

As adjusted pro forma net tangible book value per share (after giving effect to this offering)

     

Dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share to new investors in this offering

      $                
     

 

 

 

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $                per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) our as-adjusted pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering by $                million and increase (decrease) the dilution to new investors in this offering by $                per share, assuming the number of shares of our Class A common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, an increase (decrease) of one million shares of common stock sold in this offering by us would increase (decrease) our net proceeds by $                million, assuming the initial public offering price of $                per share, (which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) remains the same and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The above discussion and table below are based on the number of shares of our Class A common stock outstanding as of the date of this prospectus and exclude an additional                  shares of our Class A common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2020 Plan, as described in “Executive Compensation—2020 Equity Incentive Plan,” and                  shares of our Class A common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP, as described in “Executive Compensation—2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan.”

The following table summarizes, on an adjusted pro forma basis as of October 31, 2020, the total number of shares of our Class A common stock owned by existing stockholders and to be owned by new investors, the total consideration paid and the average price per share paid by our existing stockholders and to be paid by new investors in this offering at $            , which is the midpoint of the

 

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price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, calculated before deduction of estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

     Shares Purchased     Total Consideration     Average Price Per Share  
      Number           %         Amount          %            

Existing stockholders

                                        $                                     $                

New investors in this offering

            
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

        100   $                      100   $                
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

If the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase                  additional shares, the number of shares held by new investors will increase to                 , or approximately     % of our outstanding shares of Class A common stock.

 

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SELECTED HISTORICAL CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The following table presents our selected historical consolidated financial data as of the dates and for the periods indicated. The selected historical consolidated financial data as of and for the fiscal years 2019 and 2018, and the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, are derived from the audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The selected historical consolidated financial data as of and for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 are derived from the unaudited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The selected historical consolidated financial data as of and for the fiscal years 2017, 2016, and 2015 are derived from the unaudited historical consolidated financial statements not included in this prospectus.

Historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for future periods. We refer you to the notes to our historical consolidated financial statements for a discussion of the basis on which our historical consolidated financial statements are prepared.

Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31, resulting in fiscal years of either 52 or 53 weeks. All references to a fiscal year refer to the fiscal year ending on the Saturday closest to January 31 of the following year. For example, references to Fiscal 2019 refer to the fiscal year beginning February 3, 2019 and ending February 1, 2020. Fiscal 2019, Fiscal 2018, Fiscal 2016, and Fiscal 2015 each include 52 weeks, and Fiscal 2017 includes 53 weeks.

Our consolidated financial statements are presented in two distinct periods to indicate the application of two different bases of accounting between the periods presented. The period prior to January 30, 2016 is identified as “predecessor” and the period from January 30, 2016 forward is identified as “successor.” The acquisition of our company by our Sponsors was recorded on January 30, 2016, the end of our 2015 fiscal year. The activity between the period of the acquisition date of January 26, 2016 through January 30, 2016 was included in the predecessor’s consolidated financial statements, as we determined that the results of operations and cash flows for the five-day period from January 26, 2016 through January 30, 2016 were not material.

As a result of the acquisition and the application of push-down accounting, our consolidated financial statements for the period before January 30, 2016 are presented on a different basis than for the periods on or after January 30, 2016, and are therefore not comparable.

The following table should be read in conjunction with the sections entitled “Capitalization” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our historical consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

    Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine
Weeks Ended
 
    Successor     Predecessor     Successor  
    2019
(52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020 )
    2018
(52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    2017
(53 weeks
ended
February 3,
2018)
    2016
(52 weeks
ended
January 28,
2017)
    2015
(52 weeks
ended
January 30,
2016)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 
(dollars in thousands)                                          

Statement of operations data:

             

Net sales

  $ 4,434,514     $ 4,392,173     $ 4,527,630     $ 4,493,753     $ 4,412,293     $ 3,582,489     $ 3,285,858  

Cost of sales

    2,527,995       2,487,334       2,580,090       2,574,322       2,521,936       2,045,016       1,877,237  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    1,906,519       1,904,839       1,947,540       1,919,431       1,890,357       1,537,473       1,408,621  

SG&A expenses

    1,776,919       1,746,387       1,734,690       1,617,667       1,563,052       1,410,024       1,339,154  

Goodwill & indefinite-lived intangible impairment

    19,000       373,172       517,791                          
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

    110,600       (214,720     (304,941     301,764       327,305       127,449       69,467  

Interest income

    (335     (420     (427     (99     (82     (332     (201

Interest expense

    253,018       243,744       206,795       228,134       161,254       169,096       192,222  

 

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    Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine
Weeks Ended
 
    Successor     Predecessor     Successor  
    2019
(52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020 )
    2018
(52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    2017
(53 weeks
ended
February 3,
2018)
    2016
(52 weeks
ended
January 28,
2017)
    2015
(52 weeks
ended
January 30,
2016)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 
(dollars in thousands)                                          

Loss on extinguishment of debt

          460             13,002       50,624              

Acquisition expenses

                            75,559              
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

(Loss) Income before income taxes and (income) loss from equity method investees

    (142,083     (458,504     (511,309     60,727       39,950       (41,315     (122,554

Income tax (benefit) expense

    (35,658     (45,840     (181,678     22,392       20,399       (13,537     (28,263

(Income) loss from equity method investees

    (2,441     1,124       (1,391     (848     (930     (2,952     (326
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss) income

    (103,984     (413,788     (328,240     39,183       20,481       (24,826     (93,965

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest(1)

    (8,111                             (4,502     (5,263
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss) income attributable to members

  $ (95,873   $ (413,788   $ (328,240   $ 39,183     $ 20,481     $ (20,324   $ (88,702
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Per unit data:

             

(Loss) income per unit attributable to Common Series A and Common Series B members, basic and diluted

  $ (0.07   $ (0.28   $ (0.23   $ 0.03     $     $ (0.01   $ (0.06

Weighted average units used in computing loss per unit attributable to Common Series A and Common Series B members

    1,457,985       1,457,164       1,457,442       1,458,405             1,458,558       1,457,794  

Cash dividends declared per common unit

  $     $     $     $     $     $     $  

Pro forma net (loss) income per Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock attributable to stockholder (2)

             

Basic

             

Diluted

             

Statement of cash flow data:

             

Net cash provided by (used in)

             

Operating activities

  $ 110,337     $ 203,202     $ 246,454     $ 282,606     $ 206,543     $ 201,480     $ (34,248

Investing activities

    (139,041     (142,682     (87,657     (169,330     (2,569,635     (95,920     (119,220

Financing activities

    (3,071     (32,099     (97,800     (97,513     2,246,064       (51,124     117,595  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

  $ (31,775   $ 28,421     $ 60,997     $ 15,763     $ (117,028   $ 54,436     $ (35,873
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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    Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine
Weeks Ended
 
    Successor     Predecessor     Successor  
    2019
(52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020 )
    2018
(52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    2017
(53 weeks
ended
February 3,
2018)
    2016
(52 weeks
ended
January 28,
2017)
    2015
(52 weeks
ended
January 30,
2016)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 
(dollars in thousands)                                          

Balance Sheet data (end of period):

             

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 148,785     $ 180,649     $ 151,754     $ 90,551     $ 74,824     $ 195,832     $ 145,815  

Merchandise inventories, net

    478,968       470,144       470,789       464,222       469,333       541,352       519,212  

Working (deficit) capital(3)

    (130,936     218,138       232,742       191,630       169,838       (59,702     (40,313

Fixed assets, net

    656,256       683,547       737,542       833,731       857,146       618,930       683,870  

Total assets(4)

    6,155,118       4,924,379       5,384,262       5,905,953       5,941,667       6,203,814       6,276,342  

Total debt(5)

    3,270,131       3,239,167       3,242,719       3,316,415       3,372,642       3,237,664       3,381,217  

Total equity

    561,061       637,909       1,045,645       1,368,753       1,333,702       545,617       566,192  

Other Financial and Operational Data:

             

Comparable sales increase (decrease)(6)

    3.9     (1.1 )%            9.6     4.0

Total pet care centers at end of period

    1,478       1,490             1,468       1,488  

Total pet care centers with veterinarian practices at end of period

    81       39             105       70  

Total Active Customers (in thousands)(7)

    19,651       19,075             21,462       19,727  

Total Active Multi-Channel Customers (in thousands)(8)

    3,024       2,786             3,531       3,000  

Net loss margin(9)

    (2.3 )%      (9.4 )%            (0.7 )%      (2.9 )% 

Adjusted EBITDA(10)

  $ 424,547     $ 437,836           $ 335,749     $ 292,628  

Adjusted EBITDA margin(10)

    9.6     10.0           9.4     8.9

 

(1)

The non-controlling interest represents 50% of the net loss of our veterinary joint venture, which is a variable interest entity for which we were deemed to be the primary beneficiary beginning in Fiscal 2019 due to revisions made in the joint operating agreement. Prior to Fiscal 2019, the joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment.

(2)

Assumes conversion of PET Acquisition LLC units into shares of our common stock in the Corporate Conversion. Class B-2 common stock is not allocated earnings on a pro forma, per share basis because it only has nominal economic rights.

(3)

Working (deficit) capital is defined as current assets minus current liabilities.

(4)

We adopted ASU 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842),” and related amendments as of February 3, 2019, the beginning of Fiscal 2019 on a prospective basis and therefore, fiscal years prior to 2019 have not been revised.

(5)

Total debt includes obligations under the senior secured credit facilities, the Floating Rate Senior Notes, the 3.00% Senior Notes, and finance leases. Amounts are reflected net of unamortized discounts and debt issuance costs.

(6)

Comparable sales growth is for our total enterprise. A new location or digital site is included in comparable sales beginning on the first day of the fiscal month following 12 full fiscal months of operation and is subsequently compared to like time periods from the previous year. Relocated stores become comparable stores on the first day of operation if the original store was open longer than 12 full fiscal months. If, during the period presented, a store was closed, sales from that store are included up to the first day of the month of closing. Additionally, our comparable sales exclude the impact of the wind-down and migration of our Drs. Foster & Smith digital site to Petco.com in Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019. Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—How We Assess the Performance of Our Business.”

(7)

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers (including Pals Loyalty members) that have made at least one transaction with us, across any of our channels, during the prior 12-month period.

(8)

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Multi-Channel Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers that have transacted with us across at least two of our channels during the prior 12-month period.

(9)

Net loss margin is defined as net loss divided by net sales.

(10)

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin, are non-GAAP financial measures. Please read “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures and a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures of each.

 

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Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

We present Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, because we believe it enhances an investor’s understanding of our financial and operational performance by excluding certain material non-cash items, unusual or non-recurring items that we do not expect to continue in the future, and certain other adjustments we believe are or are not reflective of our ongoing operations and performance. Adjusted EBITDA enables operating performance to be reviewed across reporting periods on a consistent basis. We use Adjusted EBITDA as one of the principal measures to evaluate and monitor our operating financial performance and to compare our performance to others in our industry. We also use Adjusted EBITDA in connection with establishing discretionary annual incentive compensation targets, to make budgeting decisions, to make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital, and to report our quarterly results as defined in our debt agreements, although under such agreements the measure is calculated differently and is used for different purposes.

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net (loss) income attributable to members excluding:

 

   

interest expense, net and losses on debt extinguishment;

 

   

income tax (benefit) expense;

 

   

depreciation, amortization, asset impairments, and write-offs;

 

   

(income) loss from equity method investees;

 

   

goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment;

 

   

equity-based compensation;

 

   

pre-opening and closing expenses;

 

   

non-cash occupancy-related costs;

 

   

severance expenses; and

 

   

other non-recurring costs.

We believe it is useful to exclude these items that are non-cash or non-routine in nature, as they are not components of our business operations and may not directly correlate to the underlying performance of our business. In addition, we add back 50% of EBITDA related to our 50% owned veterinary joint venture for years prior to Fiscal 2019 (in Fiscal 2019, we began consolidating this joint venture in our financial results) and our 50% owned Mexico joint venture for all periods. We believe it is useful to include our portion of the results of these joint ventures, as it reflects the performance of key components of our business, including veterinary services and international operations, and presents more comparable EBITDA-based financial information rather than (income) loss on a standalone basis. Our portion of the results of these joint ventures has limitations as an analytical tool, including that amounts shown on the individual line items do not necessarily represent our legal claim to the assets and liabilities, or the revenues and expenses presented. In addition, other companies may calculate such proportionate results differently, which reduces their comparability. Further, we define Adjusted EBITDA Margin as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales.

Adjusted EBITDA is not a substitute for net (loss) income, the most comparable GAAP measure, and is subject to a number of limitations as a financial measure, so it should be used in conjunction with GAAP financial measures and not in isolation. There can be no assurances that we will not modify the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA in the future. In addition, other companies in our industry may define Adjusted EBITDA differently, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure.

 

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The table below presents a reconciliation of net loss attributable to members to Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin after taking into account net sales for the periods presented:

 

    Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
    2019     2018              
(dollars in thousands)   (52 weeks ended
February 1, 2020)
    (52 weeks ended
February 2, 2019)
      October 31,  
2020
      November 2,  
2019
 

Reconciliation of Net Loss Attributable to Members to Adjusted EBITDA

       

Net loss attributable to members

  $ (95,873   $ (413,788   $ (20,324   $ (88,702

Interest expense, net

    252,683       243,324       168,764       192,021  

Income tax benefit

    (35,658     (45,840     (13,537     (28,263

Depreciation and amortization

    173,544       186,997       128,961       129,600  

(Income) loss from equity method investees

    (2,441     1,124       (2,952     (326

Loss on debt extinguishment

          460              

Goodwill & indefinite-lived intangible impairment

    19,000       373,172              

Asset impairment and write offs

    11,871       17,677       7,651       9,256  

Equity-based compensation

    9,489       8,452       7,464       7,002  

Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA(1)

          (4,135            

Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA(2)

    14,227       7,614       12,419       9,440  

Store pre-opening expenses

    10,325       6,551       7,010       8,045  

Store closing expenses

    4,068       16,484       5,947       1,528  

Severance

    10,164       6,699       3,759       8,562  

Non-cash occupancy-related costs(3)

    32,763       4,339       17,089       26,006  

Non-recurring costs(4)

    20,385       28,706       13,498       18,459  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

  $ 424,547     $ 437,836     $ 335,749     $ 292,628  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Sales

    4,434,514       4,392,173       3,582,489       3,285,858  

Adjusted EBITDA Margin

    9.6     10.0     9.4     8.9
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA represents 50% of the entity’s operating results for years prior to Fiscal 2019, when the joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment. Beginning in Fiscal 2019, this joint venture is now included in our consolidated results with the 50% portion we do not own being adjusted as a noncontrolling interest. We believe it is useful to include our portion of the results of this joint venture prior to Fiscal 2019, as it best reflects the actual performance of our overall business and improves comparability of our financial information. The Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA is aligned with the portion of such entity’s net loss that is included in (income) loss from equity method investees in the financial statements because such entity does not have similar items to those excluded in our calculation of Adjusted EBITDA.

(2)

Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA represents 50% of the entity’s operating results for all years, as adjusted to reflect the results on a basis comparable to our Adjusted EBITDA. In the financial statements, this joint venture is accounted for as an equity method investment, and reported net of depreciation and income taxes. Because such a presentation would not reflect the adjustments made in our calculation of Adjusted EBITDA, we include our 50% interest in our Mexico Joint Venture on an Adjusted EBITDA basis to ensure consistency. The table below presents a reconciliation of Mexico Joint Venture net income to Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA:

 

     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2019     2018               
(dollars in thousands)    (52 weeks ended
February 1, 2020)
    (52 weeks ended
February 2, 2019)
      October 31,  
2020
       November 2,  
2019
 

Net Income

   $ 8,662     $ 6,902     $ 7,165      $ 4,560  

Depreciation

     11,298       4,532       8,771        8,022  

Income tax expense

     4,107       3,673       4,527        3,225  

Foreign currency gain (loss)

     (406     164       867        (82

Interest expense (income), net

     4,793       (43     3,508        3,155  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

EBITDA

   $ 28,454     $ 15,228     $ 24,838      $ 18,880  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

50% of EBITDA

   $ 14,227     $ 7,614     $ 12,419      $ 9,440  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(3)

Non-cash occupancy-related costs include the difference between cash and straight-line rent for all periods. Beginning in Fiscal 2019, in connection with our adoption of the lease accounting standard, favorable lease rights of $125.2 million and unfavorable lease rights of $30.8 million were reclassified from intangible assets and other long-term liabilities, respectively, to right-of-use lease assets and the related amortization is now included in non-cash occupancy costs. In addition to the reclassification, the amortization period of these lease right assets has decreased to align with the terms of the underlying right-of-use lease assets, thus resulting in an acceleration of expense compared to prior years. The overall adoption of the

 

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  lease accounting standard did not have an impact on our Adjusted EBITDA, as this increase in addback was completely offset in other impacted lines such as lower depreciation and amortization, asset impairments and write-offs, and store closing expenses.
(4)

Non-recurring costs include: unrealized fair market value adjustments on non-operating investments; class action settlements and related legal fees; one-time consulting and other costs associated with our strategic transformation initiatives; discontinuation and liquidation costs; and costs related to this offering. While we have incurred significant costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic during the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, we have not classified any of these costs as non-recurring due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic’s length and long-term impact on the macroeconomic operating environment.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our historical consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. The discussion and analysis below contain certain forward-looking statements about our business and operations that are subject to the risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section entitled “Risk Factors,” beginning on page 21, and elsewhere in this prospectus. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. Please read the section entitled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

Overview

We are a beloved brand in the U.S. pet care industry with more than 55 years of service to pets and the people who love and care for them. Since our founding in 1965, we have been developing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through our products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet-parent bond. Over the last three years, we have transformed the business from a successful traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully-integrated, digital-focused provider of pet health and wellness offerings. We revamped our leadership team and invested over $300 million to build out leading capabilities across e-commerce and digital, owned brands, data analytics, and a full suite of on-site services including veterinary care. Our investments have delivered a comprehensive, integrated, and technology-enabled ecosystem of channels and offerings, complemented by a rapid innovation capability that is disrupting the pet market and providing pet parents with a differentiated holistic solution for all their pet care needs.

Our go-to-market strategy is powered by a multi-channel platform that integrates our strong digital presence with our nationwide physical network. Our data-driven digital footprint, consisting of an entirely redesigned e-commerce site and personalized mobile app, delivers an exceptional customer experience and serves as a hub for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By strategically leveraging our extensive physical network consisting of approximately 1,470 pet care centers located within three miles of 54% of our customers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of ship-from-store, BOPUS, and curbside pick-up. This integrated, multi-channel approach clearly resonates with our customers, as the number of customers who engage with us across multiple channels has grown by 20% over the last three years. Further, these multi-channel customers spend between 3x to 6x more with us compared to single-channel customers. In the last 12 months ended October 31, 2020, we achieved approximately 80% retention of our multi-channel customers.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill all the needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages our owned brand portfolio and partnerships with premium third-party brands to deliver high quality food that avoids artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies. We augment this premier product offering with a broad suite of professional services, including grooming as well as in-store and online training. Our service offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, affordable veterinary service platform, which includes full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinarian services. In addition, we are increasingly linking our offerings with subscription programs such as membership and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our over 21 million Active Customers as of October 31, 2020, with our Pals loyalty program members accounting for approximately 80% of transactions in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020. In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 23,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners provide important high-quality advice to our customers in our pet

 

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care centers. With our integrated platform and comprehensive offering, we provide a complete pet health and wellness ecosystem that drives engagement across our enterprise and creates life-long customer relationships.

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

In assessing our performance, we consider a variety of performance and financial measures:

Comparable Sales

Comparable sales is an important measure throughout the retail industry and includes both retail and digital sales of products and services. A new location or digital site is included in comparable sales beginning on the first day of the fiscal month following 12 full fiscal months of operation and is subsequently compared to like time periods from the previous year. Relocated stores become comparable stores on the first day of operation if the original store was open longer than 12 full fiscal months. If, during the period presented, a store was closed, sales from that store are included up to the first day of the month of closing. Additionally, our comparable sales exclude the impact of the wind-down and migration of our Drs. Foster & Smith digital site to Petco.com in Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019. There may be variations in the way in which some of our competitors and other retailers calculate comparable sales. As a result, data in this prospectus regarding our comparable sales may not be comparable to similar data made available by other retailers.

Comparable sales allow us to evaluate how our overall ecosystem is performing by measuring the change in period-over-period net sales from locations and digital sites that have been open for the applicable period. We intend to improve comparable sales by continuing initiatives aimed to increase customer retention, frequency of visits, and basket size. General macroeconomic and retail business trends are a key driver of changes in comparable sales.

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net loss attributable to members excluding:

 

   

interest expense, net and losses on debt extinguishment;

 

   

income tax (benefit) expense;

 

   

depreciation, amortization, asset impairments, and write-offs;

 

   

(income) loss from equity method investees;

 

   

goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment;

 

   

equity-based compensation;

 

   

pre-opening and closing expenses;

 

   

non-cash occupancy-related costs;

 

   

severance expenses; and

 

   

other non-recurring costs.

We believe it is useful to exclude these items that are non-cash or non-routine in nature, as they are not components of our business operations and may not directly correlate to the underlying performance of our business. In addition, we add back 50% of EBITDA related to our 50% owned veterinary joint venture for years prior to Fiscal 2019 (in Fiscal 2019, we began consolidating this joint venture in our financial results) and our 50% owned Mexico joint venture for all periods. We believe it is useful to include our portion of the results of these joint ventures, as it reflects the performance of key components of our business, including veterinary services and international operations, and presents more comparable EBITDA-based financial information rather than (income) loss on a standalone basis.

 

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We define Adjusted EBITDA margin as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales. We expect adjusted EBITDA margin to improve over the long term. Please read “Selected Consolidated Financial and Other Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information regarding our use of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin and a reconciliation to net (loss) income attributable to members, the most comparable GAAP measure.

Total Active Customers

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers (including Pals Loyalty members) that have made at least one transaction with us, across any of our channels, during the prior 12-month period. We view the number of Total Active Customers as an indicator of our scale, the reach of our integrated platform, consumer awareness of our brand, and our growth.

Total Active Multi-Channel Customers

As of the last date of a reporting period, Total Active Multi-Channel Customers is defined as the total number of trackable unique customers that have transacted with us across at least two of our channels during the prior 12-month period. For purposes of tracking these customers, we consider our channels to be our (1) pet care center merchandise, (2) e-commerce and digital, (3) grooming and training services, and (4) veterinary services including veterinary hospitals and Vetco clinics. We view the number of Total Active Multi-Channel Customers as an indicator of our ability to engage with customers both digitally and through our nationwide physical network, address customer product and service needs, and capture a greater share of wallet.

Factors Affecting Our Business

We believe that our performance and future success depend on a number of factors that present significant opportunities for us but also pose risks and challenges, including those discussed below and in the section of this prospectus titled “Risk Factors.”

Pet Industry Trends

The U.S. pet care industry is a large, attractive growth market experiencing a significant acceleration in response to multiple secular consumer themes. In 2020, the industry is estimated to serve more than 72 million households with pets, representing a total addressable market of $97 billion. Due to its non-discretionary nature, the market has demonstrated a long-term track record of consistent growth and resilience throughout economic cycles. From 2020 to 2024, the industry is expected to grow at a 7% CAGR, driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization and COVID-19.

Customer Pet Purchase Trends

We have focused on building our complete pet care ecosystem to cover all the ways customers want to shop for their pet care needs. As we saw the major purchase trend shift and growth into areas like e-commerce, services, and veterinary care, we actively invested to build capabilities and offerings to effectively capitalize on the opportunity. Our business will be impacted by our ability to continue to understand and react to changing customer purchase trends.

Customer Acquisition, Retention, and Spend

Our business is impacted by our ability to successfully attract new customers to any one of our channels, build their loyalty to engender return visits, and expand their spend with Petco across multiple purchase channels (e.g., pet care centers, e-commerce, and services) and categories (e.g.,

 

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pet food, supplies, and companion animal). This is the primary focus of all our customer engagement efforts from digital, to performance marketing campaigns, to new product introductions, and to Petco partner cross-selling activities in pet care centers. The ability to convert more of our customers to loyal, multi-channel shoppers will affect business performance.

Innovation and Transformation

Our operating results over the last two years reflect significant investments made to support innovation and business transformation strategies. These investments include: digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; data analytical capabilities; veterinary services; marketing and advertising; and our owned brands. We also have developed advanced sales reporting that provides our pet care center General Managers and field leadership teams with data to track performance across multiple dimensions, identify opportunities, and execute strategies to drive incremental sales.

Specifically, some of these investments have included:

 

   

Approximately $185.1 million of capital investments in Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2018 in our new and existing pet care center locations, including the build-out of over 70 veterinary hospitals.

 

   

Approximately $106.8 million of capital investments in Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2018 related to digital and information technology, specifically the development of integration capabilities with our pet care center locations, our Petco App, and the development and deployment of data analytical and reporting capabilities.

 

   

An $18.1 million increase in advertising in Fiscal 2019 compared to Fiscal 2018, representing the strategic rightsizing of our go-forward advertising footprint. For the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, advertising expenses increased $56.9 million compared to the prior year period to further adapt our advertising footprint to support the acceleration of our e-commerce and digital sales growth.

 

   

Over $10.0 million investment in pet care center payroll-related costs in Fiscal 2019 related to comprehensive selling training to all partners, and to support and execute transformation initiatives.

While these investments provided a key foundation and drive increased sales, ongoing performance of the business will depend on our ability to leverage our existing distribution network and pet care center locations for product delivery and fulfillment, including implementing BOPUS and curbside pick-up, and build upon and enhance these efforts.

Gross Margin and Expense Management

Our operating results are impacted by our ability to convert revenue growth into higher gross margin and operating margin. The sales mix related to consumables, supplies and services, with services typically having lower margins, and customer shopping preferences impacting our gross margin results. We focus gross margin and expense management on achieving a balance between ensuring adequate resource spend to grow sales with attention to driving increased profitability. The business has successfully implemented cost optimization initiatives in the past and will continue to find opportunities to enhance profit margins and operate more efficiently in the future.

Talent and Culture

We see our Petco partners as the core to building a purpose-driven performance culture. Our business results rely on our ability to continually: add talented partners, specifically in our scaling business areas like e-commerce, veterinary care, and grooming and training services; provide the best tools, partner training, and competitive compensation to deliver higher sales and better customer experiences; and engender a positive, collaborative, and respectful working environment. Our Partners represent the strength of our brand every day and are key to ongoing growth.

 

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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Business

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the economy, including employment, consumer spending patterns, living and working conditions, and the viability of certain business sectors. As an essential retailer, all of our pet care centers have remained open, as we are the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctor’s office for many of our nation’s pets. Market data indicates that with more of the working population staying home, there has been an increase in pet ownership and the percentage of disposable income spent on home-related goods and services, including pet care. This macroeconomic trend is favorably impacting our business results to date, but the possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic, and any government response thereto, increases the uncertainty regarding future economic conditions that will impact our business in the future.

We have quickly adapted our business and operations since the start of the pandemic to ensure, first and foremost, the health and safety of our partners, the animals in our care, and the customers we serve. These adaptations include: providing additional paid-time off and four cycles of appreciation bonuses to our frontline partners; establishing a $2.0 million employee support fund to assist our partners and their families impacted by the pandemic; investing in sanitation, plexiglass barriers, signage, and personal protective equipment; and adopting strict safety protocols that limit direct human interactions and promote social distancing, including temporarily reducing pet care center hours during the initial phase of the pandemic.

We were well-positioned to meet the increasing and evolving needs of pets and their parents at the onset of the pandemic. In March 2020, we experienced significant increases in customer pet food purchases, or pantry loading, and were able to maintain our in-stock levels for pet food products despite the sudden change in demand. As the months progressed, our sales growth shifted to our supplies category, due to an increase in pet ownership and shifts in disposable income spending toward pets. We deprioritized our companion animal business in the early months of the pandemic to enable our partners to focus on essential customer needs during reduced pet care center hours and to minimize the health and safety risk for our partners. As stay-at-home orders began to lift and pet care center hours normalized, we quickly accelerated companion animal sourcing to catch up with growing customer demands. In services, to ensure partner safety, we temporarily suspended our training services and vaccination clinic operations, and we reduced our grooming capacity while stay-at-home orders were in place. Although we had experienced increasing customer demand for services before the pandemic, sales attributable to such services declined significantly from March through May 2020 as a result of the suspension.

We have experienced a significant acceleration of our e-commerce business, particularly as it relates to the integrated offering with our pet care centers. Our ship-from-store capability enabled us to maintain regular shipping timelines during a period when the broader market experienced difficulties. We capitalized on our BOPUS capability and rolled out curbside pick-up in a matter of weeks, enabling us to get products to customers faster and at a higher margin than online retailers that incur costs to ship products to their customers. We have incurred additional expenses to support our e-commerce business and integrated pet care center offerings. While pet care center customer traffic spiked at the onset of the pandemic with food pantry loading then decreased significantly as stay-at-home orders were put in place, our pet care center performance has improved as customers benefit from the combination of our e-commerce and digital platform and our integrated pet care center locations offering both convenient order pick-up and essential pet services.

We have taken a number of precautionary measures to ensure financial flexibility and maximize liquidity. We drew $250.0 million on the revolving credit facility in March 2020 given the uncertainty of the macroeconomic environment at the start of the pandemic, but as a result of our strong financial performance to-date, we have repaid the balance in full and have no amounts outstanding as of October 31, 2020. We temporarily suspended capital expenditures to preserve liquidity, but as our financial results surpassed earlier expectations, we have returned to our initial capital plan. In efforts to control expenses, we negotiated discounts and concessions with landlords and vendors, executed

 

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disciplined prioritization across corporate and store expenses, and temporarily furloughed or implemented temporary pay cuts for non-frontline partners.

We may need to make future adaptions to our business model and/or take other temporary or precautionary measures as a result of any possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic. Any future actions will continue to prioritize the safety of our partners and customers while simultaneously focusing on the dynamic needs of our customers.

Significant Components of Results of Operations

Net Sales

Our net sales comprise gross sales of products and services, net of sales tax and certain discounts and promotions offered to our customers, including those offered under our customer loyalty programs. Net sales are driven by comparable sales, new pet center locations, and expanded offerings.

Cost of Sales and Gross Profit

Gross profit is equal to our net sales minus our cost of sales. Gross profit rate measures gross profit as a percentage of net sales.

Our cost of sales includes the following types of expenses:

 

   

direct costs net of vendor rebates, allowances, and discounts for products sold, including inbound freight charges;

 

   

shipping and handling costs;

 

   

inventory shrinkage costs and write-downs;

 

   

payroll costs of pet groomers, trainers, veterinarians, and other direct costs of services; and

 

   

costs associated with operating our distribution centers including payroll, occupancy costs and depreciation.

Our digital gross profit rate tends to be lower than the gross profit rate from sales in our pet care centers due to incremental costs associated with shipping and other expenses of delivery to customers. In addition, our gross profit rate tends to be lower for services than for products.

Selling, General, and Administrative Expense

The following types of expenses are included in our selling, general, and administrative costs (“SG&A”):

 

   

payroll costs of pet care center employees and management;

 

   

store occupancy and utilities costs (including rent, depreciation, common area maintenance, and real estate taxes);

 

   

other costs associated with store operations;

 

   

credit and debit card fees and other third-party transaction fees like those charged by Paypal;

 

   

store pre-opening and remodeling costs;

 

   

advertising expenses; and

 

   

general and administrative costs, including payroll and other costs associated with management and other support functions.

SG&A includes both fixed and variable costs and therefore is not directly correlated with net sales. We expect that our SG&A expenses will increase in future periods due to additional expenses we expect to incur as a result of being a public company, including stock-based compensation.

 

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Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Impairment

In connection with the Fiscal 2015 acquisition by our current Sponsors, we recorded goodwill of approximately $3.0 billion and an indefinite-lived trade name asset of $1.1 billion. We evaluate these assets for impairment annually and whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. Please read the discussion of these assets under “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.”

Interest Expense

Our interest expense is primarily associated with the senior secured credit facilities, the Floating Rate Senior Notes, the 3.00% Senior Notes, and interest rate caps. Please read discussion under “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Liquidity—Derivative Financial Instruments.”

Income Tax Benefit

Income taxes consist of an estimate of federal and state income taxes based on enacted federal and state tax rates, as adjusted for allowable credits, deductions, and the valuation allowance against deferred tax assets, as applicable.

(Income) Loss from Equity Method Investees

Our equity method investments prior to Fiscal 2019 consisted primarily of our 50% owned veterinary joint venture and our 50% owned Mexico joint venture. Beginning in Fiscal 2019, the veterinary joint venture is now included in our consolidated results. Please read “Net Loss Attributable to Non-controlling Interest” below for more information regarding our non-controlling interests.

Net Loss Attributable to Non-controlling Interest

The non-controlling interest represents 50% of the net loss of our veterinary joint venture, which is a variable interest entity for which we were deemed to be the primary beneficiary beginning in Fiscal 2019 due to revisions made in the joint operating agreement. Prior to Fiscal 2019, the veterinary joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment.

Executive Summary

Our business transformation initiatives, accelerated by an increase in pet ownership and a shift in customer discretionary spend on pets, have driven strong top- and bottom-line growth in our business. Comparing the first thirty-nine weeks of Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, we achieved the following results:

 

   

increase in net sales from $3.29 billion to $3.58 billion, representing period-over-period growth of 9.0%;

 

   

comparable sales growth of 9.6%;

 

   

increase in operating income from $69.5 million to $127.4 million, representing period-over-period growth of 83.5%;

 

   

a decrease in net loss attributable to members from $(88.7) million to $(20.3) million, representing a period-over-period improvement of 77.1%; and

 

   

an increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $292.6 million to $335.7 million, representing period-over-period growth of 14.7%.

For a description of our non-GAAP measures and reconciliations to their most comparable U.S. GAAP measures, please read the section titled “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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Results of Operations

The following table summarizes our results of operations and the percent of net sales of line items included in our consolidated statements of operations:

 

     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2019     2018              
     (52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020)
    (52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 

Statements of Operations Data (dollars in thousands):

        

Net sales

   $ 4,434,514     $ 4,392,173     $ 3,582,489     $ 3,285,858  

Cost of sales

     2,527,995       2,487,334       2,045,016       1,877,237  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     1,906,519       1,904,839       1,537,473       1,408,621  

Selling, general, and administrative expenses

     1,776,919       1,746,387       1,410,024       1,339,154  

Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment

     19,000       373,172              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

     110,600       (214,720     127,449       69,467

Interest income

     (335     (420     (332     (201

Interest expense

     253,018       243,744       169,096       192,222  

Loss on extinguishment of debt

           460              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes and (income) loss from equity method investees

     (142,083     (458,504     (41,315     (122,554

Income tax benefit

     (35,658     (45,840     (13,537     (28,263

(Income) loss from equity method investees

     (2,441     1,124       (2,952     (326
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

     (103,984     (413,788     (24,826     (93,965

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

     (8,111           (4,502     (5,263
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to members

   $ (95,873   $ (413,788   $ (20,324   $ (88,702
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2019     2018              
     (52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020)
    (52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 

Net sales

     100.0     100.0     100.0     100.0

Cost of sales

     57.0       56.6       57.1       57.1  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     43.0       43.4       42.9       42.9  

Selling, general and administrative expenses

     40.1       39.8       39.4       40.8  

Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment

     0.4       8.5              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

     2.5       (4.9     3.5       2.1  

Interest income

     (0.0     (0.0     (0.0     (0.0

Interest expense

     5.7       5.5       4.7       5.9  

Loss on extinguishment of debt

           0.0              
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income taxes and (income) loss from equity method investees

     (3.2     (10.4     (1.2     (3.8

Income tax benefit

     (0.8     (1.0     (0.4     (0.9

(Income) loss from equity method investees

     (0.1     0.0       (0.1     0.0  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

     (2.3     (9.4     (0.7     (2.9

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

     (0.2           (0.1     (0.2
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to members

     (2.1 )%      (9.4 )%      (0.6 )%      (2.7 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operational Data:

        

Comparable sales increase (decrease)

     3.9     (1.1 )%      9.6     4.0

 

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     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2019     2018              
     (52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020)
    (52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 

Total pet care centers at end of period

     1,478       1,490       1,468       1,488  

Total pet care centers with veterinarian practices at end of period

     81       39       105       70  

Total Active Customers (in thousands)

     19,651       19,075       21,462       19,727  

Total Active Multi-Channel Customers
(in thousands)

     3,024       2,786       3,531       3,000  

Net loss margin(1)

     (2.3 )%      (9.4 )%      (0.7 )%      (2.9 )% 

Adjusted EBITDA (in thousands)(2)

   $ 424,547     $ 437,836     $ 335,749     $ 292,628  

Adjusted EBITDA margin(2)

     9.6     10.0     9.4     8.9

 

(1)

Net loss margin is defined as net loss divided by net sales.

(2)

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are non-GAAP financial measures. Please read “Selected Historical Consolidated Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for additional information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures and a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures of each.

Thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared with thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019

Net Sales and Comparable Sales

Net sales increased $296.6 million, or 9.0%, to $3.58 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to net sales of $3.29 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 driven by a 9.6% increase in our comparable sales. With our investments in our business over the past two years, we were, and continue to be, well-positioned to meet the increasing and evolving needs of pets and their parents. Our sales growth period-over-period was a result of these investments, coupled with an increase in pet ownership and a shift in consumer spending toward the pet category as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our e-commerce and digital sales increased from 7.0% of total net sales for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 to 13.3% of total net sales for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 driven by a change in consumer shopping preferences. With an integrated offering that includes BOPUS, curbside pick-up, and ship-from-store, we were able to quickly get products to customers in a safe manner regardless of their delivery or pick-up preference.

Supplies and companion animal sales increased $274.7 million due to increases in pet ownership and shifts in disposable income toward pets and represented 47.7% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to 43.6% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. Dog and cat food sales increased $24.2 million and represented 43.2% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to 46.4% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. Services sales decreased $13.6 million and represented 7.9% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to 9.1% of sales in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. The decrease was due to the temporary suspension of our training services and vaccination clinic operations and reducing our grooming capacity while stay-at-home orders were in place to ensure the safety of our partners. Slightly offsetting these decreases was growth in our hospital business of $33.3 million due to increases in comparable sales and the addition of 35 new hospitals period-over-period.

Cost of Goods Sold and Gross Profit

Gross profit increased $128.9 million, or 9.1%, to $1.54 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to gross profit of $1.41 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. As a percentage of sales, our gross profit rate was consistent at 42.9% for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 and November 2, 2019. The increase in gross profit was due to the overall

 

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increase in net sales. Gross profit rate was impacted by the shift in sales mix to our supplies category, which typically carries higher margins, from our services category, which typically carries lower margins during the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020. However, this increase was offset by the shift in sales to e-commerce, which typically carries lower margins than pet care center sales. E-commerce sales margins benefitted by the growth in BOPUS, curbside delivery, and ship-from-store, which typically carry higher margins as they reduce or eliminate shipping costs associated with online sales. Approximately 80% of Petco.com orders were fulfilled by our pet care centers during the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020.

Slightly offsetting the growth in gross profit period-over-period were COVID-related expenses of approximately $5.3 million for appreciation bonuses for our frontline services partners, including groomers, trainers and veterinarians, and distribution center partners and approximately $1.3 million due to increased sanitation costs at our distribution centers and for purchases of personal protective equipment.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

SG&A expenses increased $70.9 million, or 5.3%, to $1.41 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared to $1.34 billion for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. As a percentage of net sales, SG&A expenses decreased from 40.8% in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 to 39.4% in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020. The increase in expense period-over-period was driven by a $56.9 million increase in advertising expenses to support the acceleration of our e-commerce and digital sales growth; $11.7 million of COVID-related appreciation bonuses for our frontline pet care center partners; $9.3 million of COVID-related expenses for sanitation, safety-related costs, personal protective equipment and the establishment of our employee assistance fund; and $6.1 million of expenses incurred in connection with the public offering. Slightly offsetting these increases was a decrease in pet care center payroll costs of $12.7 million due to reduced pet care center hours and focus on essential selling activities during the early months of the pandemic.

Interest Expense

Interest expense decreased $23.1 million, or 12.0%, to $169.1 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared with $192.2 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. The decrease was primarily driven by lower interest rates, slightly offset by an increase in our average revolver balance period-over-period. In March 2020, we borrowed $250.0 million on the revolving credit facility as a precautionary measure given the uncertainty of the macroeconomic environment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We subsequently repaid the amount in full and had no borrowings outstanding as of October 31, 2020. We expect that our interest expense will continue to decrease following the completion of this offering as we intend to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to redeem, after the Recapitalization, the remaining Floating Rate Senior Notes and the remainder of the proceeds, plus cash on hand, to repay a portion of the term loan facility.

Income Tax Benefit

Our effective tax rate was 41.0% for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, resulting in an income tax benefit of $13.5 million, compared to an effective tax rate of 24.2% and income tax benefit of $28.3 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. The increase in effective tax rate is driven by the remeasurement of deferred tax assets related to $67.4 million of net operating losses available under the CARES Act that are expected to be carried back to fiscal year(s) before the U.S Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”) was enacted, which resulted in a benefit of $8.5 million.

Net Loss Attributable to Members

Net loss attributable to members decreased $68.4 million to $20.3 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared with a net loss attributable to members of $88.7 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. The improvement period-over-period was primarily driven by

 

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higher gross margin of $128.9 million and lower interest expense of $23.1 million, slightly offset by higher SG&A costs of $70.9 million and a lower income tax benefit of $14.7 million.

Fiscal 2019 (52 weeks) compared with Fiscal 2018 (52 weeks)

Net Sales and Comparable Sales

Net sales increased $42.3 million, or 1.0%, to $4.43 billion for Fiscal 2019 compared to net sales of $4.39 billion in Fiscal 2018 driven by a 3.9% increase in our comparable sales. Our sales growth year-over-year was a result of our overall pet care center sales performance, particularly our services, which increased $57.8 million and represented 9.1% of our total sales in Fiscal 2019 compared to 7.9% of sales in Fiscal 2018. The increase in services as a percentage of total net sales was driven by our grooming business and our veterinary hospitals. We added 42 veterinary hospitals during Fiscal 2019 bringing our total number of hospitals to 81 as of the end of the year compared with 39 hospitals as of the end of Fiscal 2018. Dog and cat food sales increased $8.7 million and remained a consistent percentage of our sales mix year-over-year. Slightly offsetting these increases was a decrease in our supplies and companion animal sales of $29.1 million, which was primarily attributable to the wind-down and migration of our Drs. Foster & Smith digital site to Petco.com. As noted above, our comparable sales exclude sales related to the Drs. Foster & Smith digital site.

Cost of Goods Sold and Gross Profit

Gross profit increased $1.7 million, or 0.1%, to $1.91 billion in Fiscal 2019 from gross profit of $1.90 billion in Fiscal 2018. Our overall gross profit increase was driven by our comparable sales growth in Fiscal 2019 and lower distribution center costs of $13.1 million driven by productivity enhancements and cost management initiatives, slightly offset by $7.0 million in higher distribution freight costs due to rate and fuel increases year-over-year. As a percentage of sales, our gross profit rate decreased to 43.0% compared to 43.4% in Fiscal 2018. The decrease in gross profit rate was primarily a result of a shift in overall sales mix due to an increase in services revenue, which typically carries lower margins. Slightly offsetting the decrease in gross profit rate was margin improvement due to an increase in sales of our owned brands, which carry higher gross margins and surpassed $1.0 billion in annual sales in Fiscal 2019. Our owned brand food and supplies represented 27.1% of merchandise sales in Fiscal 2019 compared to 24.4% of merchandise sales in Fiscal 2018.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

SG&A expenses increased $30.5 million, or 1.7%, to $1.78 billion in Fiscal 2019 compared to $1.75 billion in Fiscal 2018. As a percentage of net sales, SG&A expenses increased from 39.8% in Fiscal 2018 to 40.1% in Fiscal 2019. The increase is primarily driven by: higher advertising expense of $18.1 million due to investments in right-sizing our advertising footprint; a $12.0 million increase occupancy-related costs primarily due to an acceleration of non-cash lease rights expense as a result of adopting the lease accounting standard in Fiscal 2019; $12.0 million of hospital and general support costs associated with our veterinary joint venture that we began consolidating in Fiscal 2019; and an $11.0 million increase in pet care center payroll-related costs driven by investments in connection with our retail transformation initiative. Slightly offsetting these increases was lower depreciation and amortization expense of $13.5 million due to more assets becoming fully depreciated and $5.0 million in proceeds from the settlement of a legal claim.

Goodwill and Indefinite-lived Intangible Impairment

Our annual impairment test in Fiscal 2019 indicated that the fair value of our single reporting unit exceeded the carrying value, and therefore no goodwill impairment charge was recorded. In Fiscal 2018, our annual impairment test resulted in a charge of $290.2 million driven by a combination of market conditions, increased competition from online competitors, and decreased financial performance.

The annual impairment analysis of our indefinite-lived trade name asset resulted in impairment charges of $19.0 million and $83.0 million in Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2018, respectively, driven by a

 

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combination of market conditions, increased competition from online competitors, and decreased financial performance.

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased $9.3 million, or 3.8%, to $253.0 million in Fiscal 2019 compared with $243.7 million in Fiscal 2018. The increase in expense was primarily driven by higher interest rates and a higher average revolver balance year-over-year.

Income Tax Benefit

Our effective tax rate was 27.3% in Fiscal 2019, resulting in an income tax benefit of $35.7 million, compared to an effective tax rate of 9.9% and income tax benefit of $45.8 million in Fiscal 2018. The increase in our effective tax rate in Fiscal 2019 was primarily due to the non-deductible goodwill impairment charge impacting our rate in Fiscal 2018. The lower effective tax rate in Fiscal 2018 was primarily due to the Tax Act that was enacted in December 2017.

Net Loss Attributable to Members

Net loss attributable to members decreased $317.9 million to $95.9 million in Fiscal 2019 compared with a net loss of $413.8 million in Fiscal 2018. The improvement year-over-year was primarily driven by lower goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment of $354.2 million and leverage in our SG&A corporate support costs, slightly offset by planned increases in advertising and investments to support our transformation initiatives in-store operations, grooming, and veterinary expansion.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Overview

Our primary sources of liquidity are funds generated by operating activities and borrowings from the revolving credit facility. Our ability to fund our operations, to make planned capital investments, to make scheduled debt payments and to repay or refinance indebtedness depends on our future operating performance and cash flows, which are subject to prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $195.8 million as of October 31, 2020. We believe that our current resources, together with anticipated cash flows from operations and borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility will be sufficient to finance our operations, meet our current debt obligations, and fund anticipated capital investments for the next 12 months. We may, however, seek additional financing to fund future growth or refinance our existing indebtedness through the debt capital markets, but we cannot be assured that such financing will be available on favorable terms, or at all.

Cash Flows

The following table summarizes our consolidated cash flows:

 

     Fiscal Year     Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2019     2018              
(dollars in thousands)    (52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020)
    (52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
    October 31,
2020
    November 2,
2019
 

Total cash provided by (used in):

        

Operating activities

   $ 110,337     $ 203,202     $ 201,480     $ (34,248

Investing activities

     (139,041     (142,682     (95,920     (119,220

Financing activities

     (3,071     (32,099     (51,124     117,595  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

(Decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

   $ (31,775   $ 28,421     $ 54,436     $ (35,873
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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Operating Activities

Our primary source of operating cash is sales of products and services to customers, which are substantially all on a cash basis and therefore provide us with a significant source of liquidity. Our primary uses of cash in operating activities include purchases of inventory; freight and warehousing costs; employee-related expenditures; occupancy-related costs for our pet care centers, distribution centers and corporate support centers; credit card fees; interest under our debt agreements; and marketing expenses. Net cash provided by operating activities is impacted by our net loss adjusted for certain non-cash items, including: depreciation, amortization, impairments and write-offs; amortization of debt discounts and issuance costs; deferred income taxes; equity-based compensation; impairments of goodwill and intangible assets; and the effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $201.5 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 compared with net cash used in operating activities of $34.2 million in the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019. The increase was driven by net sales growth of $296.6 million period-over-period driven by our strategic investments, the increase in pet ownership and shift in consumer spending toward the pet category as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A decrease in cash payments for interest of $43.6 million driven by the timing of quarterly payments and lower interest rates, and a $28.6 million CARES Act deferral of the employer portion of certain payroll taxes also contributed to the increase. This was offset by an increase in cash paid for advertising of $50.4 million, a $33.8 million increase in cash paid for shipping costs on higher e-commerce and digital sales, $27.6 million in COVID-19 related expenses, a $10.3 million increase in legal and professional fees primarily related to the public offering, and the timing and volume of inventory purchases.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $110.3 million in Fiscal 2019 compared with $203.2 million in Fiscal 2018. This was driven by a timing-related decrease of $25.0 million in cash collections on trade accounts receivable, $22.3 million in planned increases in cash paid for advertising to support our transformation initiatives, and $14.8 million of net cash used in operating activities by our veterinary joint venture, which we began consolidating beginning in Fiscal 2019. Increases of $4.4 million in cash paid for interest and $3.7 million in cash paid for income taxes also contributed to the decrease. The remaining decrease is primarily due to changes in other assets and liabilities, specifically the timing of inventory purchases and payments on accounts payable.

Investing Activities

Cash used in investing activities consists primarily of capital expenditures, which in Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2018 primarily supported our transformation initiatives. Net cash used in investing activities was $95.9 million and $119.2 million for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 and November 2, 2019, respectively. The decrease in capital spend period-over-period was due to a strategic decision to temporarily suspend capital expenditures in the early months of the COVID pandemic to preserve liquidity given the uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment. Our capital expenditures resumed as our operations stabilized and financial results improved, and for Fiscal 2020, we now expect to incur capital expenditures as originally planned.

Net cash used in investing activities was $139.0 million in Fiscal 2019 compared with $142.7 million in Fiscal 2018 and related primarily to capital expenditures. Offsetting our cash used for capital expenditures in Fiscal 2019 was proceeds from the sale-leaseback of our San Antonio corporate support center, for which we received net proceeds of $18.5 million. The sale-leaseback enabled us to enhance our liquidity and fund investments to support our strategic growth and transformation initiatives.

The majority of our capital expenditures are discretionary in nature and made to expand our business. In Fiscal 2020, we expect to spend approximately $165.0 million to $180.0 million in capital expenditures.

 

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Capital expenditures by category during the periods set forth below are as follows:

 

     Fiscal Year      Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended  
     2020 Estimate      2019      2018                
(dollars in thousands)    (52 weeks
ending
January 30,
2021)
     (52 weeks
ended
February 1,
2020)
     (52 weeks
ended
February 2,
2019)
     October 31,
2020
     November 2,
2019
 

New and existing pet care center locations

   $ 95,000 – 100,000      $ 100,394      $ 84,671      $ 54,757      $ 80,906  

Digital and Information technology

     65,000 – 70,000        51,358        55,465        35,379        34,713  

Supply chain and other

     5,000 – 10,000        5,154        7,927        6,153        3,581  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total capital expenditures

   $ 165,000 – 180,000      $ 156,906      $ 148,063      $ 96,289      $ 119,200  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Financing Activities

Financing activities primarily consist of borrowings and paydowns on the revolving credit facility to support the working capital needs of the business and principal payments on the term loan facility of $25.3 million per year.

Net cash used in financing activities was $51.1 million for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 and primarily consisted of term loan principal payments of $18.9 million and net payments on the revolving credit facility of $29.0 million. At the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, we took a precautionary draw on the revolving credit facility of $250.0 million. As operations stabilized and financial results improved, the balance was repaid in full and no amounts were outstanding as of October 31, 2020.

Net cash provided by financing activities was $117.6 million for the thirty-nine weeks ended November 2, 2019 and primarily consisted of term loan principal payments of $18.9 million and net borrowings on the revolving credit facility of $141.0 million to support the working capital needs of the business. The outstanding balance on the revolving credit facility was $141.0 million as of November 2, 2019.

Net cash used in financing activities was $3.1 million in Fiscal 2019 and primarily consisted of term loan principal payments of $25.3 million and net borrowings on the revolving credit facility of $29.0 million to support the working capital needs of the business. The outstanding balance on the revolving credit facility was $29.0 million as of February 1, 2020.

Net cash used in financing activities was $32.1 million in Fiscal 2018 and primarily consisted of term loan principal payments of $25.3 million. No amounts were outstanding on the revolving credit facility as of February 2, 2019.

Sources of Liquidity

Senior Secured Credit Facilities

Petco Animal Supplies has a $2,525.0 million term loan facility maturing on January 26, 2023, which was most recently amended on January 27, 2017, and a revolving credit facility, providing for senior secured financing of up to $500.0 million expiring on the earlier of 91 days prior to the maturity of the term loan facility (currently October 27, 2022) or five years from the most recent amendment, subject to a borrowing base. The term loan facility and the revolving credit facility are collectively referred to as the “senior secured credit facilities.”

As of October 31, 2020, the outstanding principal balance of the term loan facility was $2,405.1 million ($2,359.0 million, net of the unamortized discount and debt issuance costs). Interest

 

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under the term loan facility is, at our option, the bank’s alternative base rate (“ABR”) or LIBOR, adjusted for statutory reserve requirements (“Adjusted LIBOR”), subject to a 1.00% floor, payable upon maturity of the LIBOR contract, in either case, plus the applicable rate. The ABR is the greater of the bank prime rate, federal funds effective rate plus 0.5%, or the LIBOR quoted rate plus 2.0%. The applicable rate is 2.25% per annum for an ABR loan or 3.25% per annum for an Adjusted LIBOR loan. Additionally, when Petco Animal Supplies’ senior secured first lien net leverage ratio falls below 4.00, each of the applicable rate options will be reduced by 0.25%. Principal payments under the term loan facility are $6.3 million quarterly.

As of October 31, 2020, no amounts were outstanding under the revolving credit facility and $390.2 million remains available, which is net of $61.5 million of outstanding letters of credit issued in the normal course of business and a $48.3 million borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets, net of reserves. The principal qualifying assets in our borrowing base are inventory and credit and debit card receivables.

The revolving credit facility has availability up to $500.0 million and a $150.0 million letter of credit sub-facility. The availability is limited to a borrowing base, which allows borrowings of up to 90% of eligible accounts receivable plus 90% of the net orderly liquidation value of eligible inventory plus up to $50.0 million of qualified cash of Petco Animal Supplies to which Petco Animal Supplies and the Guarantors have no access, less reserves as determined by the administrative agent. Letters of credit reduce the amount available to borrow under the revolving credit facility by their face value.

Interest on the revolving credit facility is based on either ABR or Adjusted LIBOR subject to a floor of 0%, in either case, plus an applicable margin. The applicable margin is currently equal to 25 basis points in the case of ABR loans and 125 basis points in the case of Adjusted LIBOR loans. The applicable margin is adjusted quarterly based on the average historical excess availability as a percentage of the Line Cap, which represents the lesser of the aggregate revolving credit facility and the borrowing base, as follows:

 

Average Historical Excess Availability

   Applicable Margin
for Adjusted LIBOR
Loans
    Applicable Margin
for ABR Loans
 

Less than 33.3% of the Line Cap

     1.75     0.75

Less than 66.7% but greater than or equal to 33.3% of the Line Cap

     1.50     0.50

Greater than or equal to 66.7% of the Line Cap

     1.25     0.25

The revolving credit facility is subject to an unused commitment fee. If the actual daily utilized portion exceeds 50%, the unused commitment fee is 0.25%. Otherwise, the unused commitment fee is 0.375% and is not dependent upon excess availability.

The obligations under the senior secured credit facilities are secured by substantially all of the personal property assets of Petco Animal Supplies with differing priority rights to the various personal property assets ascribed to each facility. Both credit facility agreements, while not identical, contain certain affirmative and negative covenants related to indebtedness, liens, fundamental changes in the business, investments, restricted payments and agreements, and a fixed charge coverage ratio, among other things.

The credit agreements governing the senior secured credit facilities contain customary default provisions including, among others, the failure to make payments when due, defaults under other material indebtedness, non-compliance with covenants, change of control and bankruptcy, the occurrence of any of which would limit our ability to draw on the revolving credit facility and could result in the applicable lenders under the senior secured credit facilities accelerating the maturity of such indebtedness and foreclosing upon the collateral pledged thereunder.

 

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Derivative Financial Instruments

In March 2016, we entered into a series of five interest rate cap agreements with four counterparties totaling $1,950.0 million to limit the maximum interest rate on a portion of our variable-rate debt and limit our exposure to interest rate variability when three-month LIBOR exceeds 2.25%.

Terms of our interest rate caps and their fair values as of October 31, 2020 are as follows (in thousands):

 

Notional amount     

Effective date

  

Expiration date

   Fair Value  
$ 975,000      January 31 2017    January 31, 2021    $ (720
  243,750      January 31, 2017    January 31, 2021      (168
  243,750      January 31, 2017    January 31, 2021      (173
  243,750      January 31, 2017    January 31, 2021      (168
  243,750      January 31, 2017    January 31, 2021      (165

 

 

          

 

 

 
$ 1,950,000            $ (1,394

 

 

          

 

 

 

Although we are exposed to credit loss in the event of nonperformance by our counterparties, credit risk is considered limited due to the credit ratings of the counterparties and the use of a master netting agreement, which permits the netting of derivative payables and receivables. We have not historically incurred, and do not expect to incur in the future, any losses as a result of counterparty default. The notional amount of our outstanding derivatives is not an indicator of the magnitude of potential exposure.

The interest rate cap agreements contain provisions that would be triggered in the event we default on our debt agreements, which in turn could cause ineffectiveness or termination of the underlying cap agreements. As of October 31, 2020, no events of default have occurred. There is no collateral posting requirement outside the provisions in the debt agreements.

3.00% Senior Notes and Floating Rate Senior Notes

In connection with this offering, the 3.00% Senior Notes will be exchanged and canceled, and the Floating Rate Senior Notes will be fully redeemed after the application of the proceeds from this offering. For more information regarding this indebtedness, please read “Recapitalization and Corporate Conversion” and Note 9 to the historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Contractual Obligations

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We do not have any relationships that are considered off-balance sheet arrangements. We do enter into certain short-term lease commitments, letters of credit and purchase obligations in the normal course of business.

 

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Contractual Obligations

The following summarizes our contractual obligations at February 1, 2020 and the effect such obligations could have on our liquidity and cash flow in future periods (amounts in thousands):

 

     Fiscal year  
     2020      2021 &
2022
     2023 &
2024
     2025 &
beyond
     Other      Total  

Estimated interest and fees on debt obligations(1)

   $ 162,455      $ 354,862      $ 85,313      $      $      $ 602,630  

Purchase obligations(2)

     181,326        25,872        16,009        4,489               227,696  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total commitments

     343,781        380,734        101,322        4,489               830,326  

Debt, short and long term(3)

     25,250        2,530,453        750,000                      3,305,703  

Operating leases(4)

     418,994        675,425        458,101        458,356               2,010,876  

Finance leases(4)

     4,327        5,513        4,319        6,157               20,316  

Other long-term liabilities(5)

            5,213        900        5,006        77,677        88,796  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total recorded liabilities

     448,571        3,216,604        1,213,320        469,519        77,677        5,425,691  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total commitments and recorded liabilities

   $ 792,352      $ 3,597,338      $ 1,314,642      $ 474,008      $ 77,677      $ 6,256,017  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

Estimated interest on debt obligation is based on average interest rates in effect at October 31, 2020. Debt fees include commitment and other fees associated with the senior secured credit facilities.

(2)

Purchase obligations include various obligations that have specified purchase commitments. As of February 1, 2020, future purchase obligations include open purchase orders and non-cancellable obligations under marketing, information technology, and employment contracts.

(3)

Amounts shown for debt include principal payments only and exclude any debt discounts and deferred financing costs.

(4)

Represents minimum rents payable under operating and finance leases, excluding common area maintenance, insurance, or tax payments, for which we are obligated.

(5)

Other long-term liabilities consist of: self-insurance reserves; asset retirement obligations; and deferred and other compensation. For all items excluding other compensation, we are unable to make a reasonably reliable estimate of the timing of payments in individual years beyond 12 months, due to uncertainties in the timing of the settlement of liabilities; these items are therefore included in the “other” category.

Segment

We operate under one reportable segment and support and serve pets and their parents through our integrated ecosystem of pet care centers, services, and e-commerce.

Inflation and Deflation Trends

Inflation and deflation can impact our financial performance. During inflationary periods, our financial results can be positively impacted in the short term as we sell lower-priced inventory in a higher price environment. Over the longer term, the impact of inflation is largely dependent on our ability to pass price increases to customers, which is subject to competitive market conditions. Although neither inflation nor deflation has had a material impact on our operating results, we can make no assurance that our business will not be affected by inflation or deflation in the future.

 

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Seasonality

Our financial performance is not significantly impacted by seasonality, as the majority of our sales are generated by pet parents caring for their pets year-round.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of our consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or “GAAP,” requires us to make assumptions and estimates about future results, and apply judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, net sales, expenses and related disclosures. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experience, current trends and other factors that we believe to be relevant at the time our consolidated financial statements are prepared. On an ongoing basis, we review the accounting policies, assumptions, estimates and judgments to ensure that our financial statements are presented fairly and in accordance with GAAP. However, because future events and their effects cannot be determined with certainty, actual results could differ from our assumptions and estimates, and such differences could be material.

We state our significant accounting policies in the notes to our annual consolidated financial statements, which are included in this prospectus. We believe that the following accounting policies and estimates described below have the greatest potential impact on our financial statements, and therefore we consider these to be critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating our reported financial results.

Inventory Reserves

We value our inventory at the lower of the cost or net realizable value through the establishment of inventory valuation and shrink reserves. Cost is determined by the average cost method and includes inbound freight charges. Our valuation reserves represent the excess of the carrying value or average cost, over the amount we expect to realize from the ultimate sale of the inventory. Valuation reserves establish a new cost basis, and subsequent changes in facts or circumstances do not result in an increase in the newly established cost basis. Our valuation reserves are subject to uncertainties, as the calculation requires us to make assumptions regarding inventory aging, forecasted consumer demand and trends and the promotional environment.

Our inventory shrink reserve represents estimated physical inventory losses that have occurred since the last physical inventory date. Periodic inventory observations are performed on a regular basis at store locations, and cycle counts are performed for inventory at distribution centers to ensure inventory is properly stated in our financial statements. During the period between counts at store and distribution center locations, we accrue for estimated shrink losses based on historical shrinkage results, taking into consideration any current trends in the business.

We have not made any material changes in our methodology used to establish our inventory valuation and shrink reserves during the past three fiscal years, and we have not had material adjustments between our estimated shrinkage percentages and actual results. A 10% difference in our actual valuation reserve at February 1, 2020 would have an insignificant effect on pre-tax loss in Fiscal 2019. Additionally, we do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in future estimates or assumptions we use to calculate our shrink reserve. However, if estimates of losses are inaccurate, we may be exposed to losses or gains that could be material. A 10% difference in our actual reserve at February 1, 2020 would have affected pre-tax loss by $2.8 million in Fiscal 2019.

Long-lived Assets

Long-lived assets, other than goodwill and intangible assets, which are separately discussed below, are tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the

 

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carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable. A long-lived asset is not recoverable if its carrying amount exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows expected to result from its use and eventual disposition. If a long-lived asset is not recoverable, an impairment loss is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amount of the long-lived asset (or group of assets) exceeds its fair value, with fair value determined based on the income approach.

Factors we consider important and which could trigger an impairment review include: (i) significant underperformance of a store relative to expected historical or projected future operating results; (ii) significant changes in the manner of our use of assets or strategy for our overall business; (iii) significant negative industry or economic trends; or (iv) planned store closings.

We have not made any material changes in the accounting methodology we use to assess impairment losses during the past three fiscal years.

Goodwill and Trade Name Intangible Assets

Goodwill

We evaluate goodwill annually in our fourth quarter or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. We have identified one reporting unit and selected our fourth fiscal quarter to perform our annual goodwill impairment testing. Goodwill impairment guidance provides entities the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary. The qualitative assessment requires significant judgments about economic conditions, including the entity’s operating environment, its industry and other market conditions, entity-specific events related to financial performance or loss of key personnel, and other events that could impact the reporting unit. If management concludes, based on assessment of relevant events, facts, and circumstances, that it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is greater than its carrying value, no further impairment testing is required.

If management’s assessment of qualitative factors indicates that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, then a quantitative assessment is performed. We also have the option to bypass the qualitative assessment described above and proceed directly to the quantitative assessment, where we compare the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds the carrying value of our net assets assigned to that unit, goodwill is not considered impaired and we are not required to perform further testing. If the carrying value of net assets assigned to the reporting unit exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit, then we would record an impairment loss equal to the difference.

The fair value of our reporting unit is estimated using the assistance of a third-party valuation firm and quantitative impairment tests are calculated using a discounted cash flow analysis and a public company analysis. Significant assumptions inherent in these valuation methodologies are employed and include, but are not limited to, prospective financial information, growth rates, discount rates, and comparable multiples from publicly traded companies in similar industries.

We have not made any material changes in the accounting methodology we use to assess goodwill impairment losses during the past three fiscal years.

Indefinite-lived trade name

We consider the Petco trade name to be an indefinite-lived intangible asset, as we currently anticipate that this trade name will contribute cash flows to us indefinitely. We perform our annual impairment test during the fourth quarter of each year or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. Management has the option to first perform a quantitative assessment of its trade name asset to determine whether it is necessary to perform a quantitative impairment test. We also have the option to bypass the qualitative assessment described above and proceed directly to quantitative assessment.

 

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The fair value of our trade name is estimated using the assistance of a third-party valuation firm using the relief from royalty valuation method, a variation of the discounted cash flow approach. Significant assumptions inherent in the valuation methodology are employed and include, but are not limited to, prospective financial information, royalty rates and discount rates. An impairment charge is recorded for the amount by which the carrying amount of the trade name exceeds its fair value.

We have not made any material changes in the accounting methodology we use to assess indefinite-lived trade name impairment during the past three fiscal years.

Self-insurance Reserves

We maintain accruals for our self-insurance of workers’ compensation, employee-related healthcare benefits and general and auto liabilities. Insurance coverage is in place above per occurrence retention limits to limit our exposure to large claims. These insurance policies have stated maximum coverage limits, after which we bear the risk of loss. When estimating our self-insurance reserves, we consider a number of factors, including historical experience, trends related to claims and payments, and information provided by our insurance brokers and actuaries. Periodically, we review our assumptions and valuations provided by our actuaries to determine the adequacy of our self-insurance reserves.

We are required to make assumptions and to apply judgments to estimate the ultimate cost to settle reported claims and claims incurred but not reported at the balance sheet date. There were no significant changes to the self-insurance reserves during the past three years other than routine current period activity. A 10% change in our self-insurance reserves at February 1, 2020 would have affected pre-tax loss by $8.2 million in Fiscal 2019.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

Refer to Note 1 in the historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for information regarding recently issued accounting pronouncements.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

We are subject to market risks arising from transactions in the normal course of our business. These risks are primarily associated with interest rate fluctuations, as well as changes in our credit standing, based on the capital and credit markets, which are not predictable. We do not currently hold any instruments for trading purposes.

Interest Rate Risk

We are subject to interest rate risk in connection with the senior secured credit facilities. As of February 1, 2020, we had $2,424.0 million outstanding under the term loan facility and $29.0 million outstanding under the revolving credit facility. The term loan facility and the revolving credit facility each bear interest at variable rates. After taking into account our interest rate caps: (i) an increase of 100 basis points in the variable rates on the amounts outstanding under the senior secured credit facilities as of February 1, 2020 would have increased annual cash interest in the aggregate by approximately $7.1 million; and (ii) a decrease of 100 basis points in the variable rates on the amounts outstanding under the senior secured credit facilities as of February 1, 2020 would have decreased annual cash interest in the aggregate by approximately $21.4 million. For information regarding the five interest rate cap agreements that we entered into in March 2016 to limit the maximum interest rate on a portion of our variable-rate debt and limit our exposure to interest rate variability, please read “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Liquidity—Derivative Financial Instruments.”

We cannot predict market fluctuations in interest rates and their impact on our debt, nor can there be any assurance that long-term fixed-rate debt will be available at favorable rates, if at all.

 

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Consequently, future results may differ materially from estimated results due to adverse changes in interest rates or debt availability.

Credit Risk

As of February 1, 2020, our cash and cash equivalents were maintained at major financial institutions in the United States, and our current deposits are likely in excess of insured limits. We believe these institutions have sufficient assets and liquidity to conduct their operations in the ordinary course of business with little or no credit risk to us.

Foreign Currency Risk

Substantially all of our business is currently conducted in U.S. dollars. We do not believe that an immediate 10% increase or decrease in the relative value of the U.S. dollar as compared to other currencies would have a material effect on our operating results.

 

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BUSINESS

Our Mission

We love pets. We are a purpose-driven company dedicated to improving the lives of pets, their parents, and the partners who work for us. We are committed to being the leading, most trusted resource in pet care, providing a comprehensive portfolio of essential products and services with expert advice that addresses all aspects of pet health and wellness.

Our Company

We are a beloved brand in the U.S. pet care industry with more than 55 years of service to pets and the people who love and care for them. Since our founding in 1965, we have been developing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through our products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet-parent bond. Over the last three years, we have transformed the business from a successful traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully-integrated, digital-focused provider of pet health and wellness offerings. We revamped our leadership team and invested over $300 million to build out leading capabilities across e-commerce and digital, owned brands, data analytics, and a full suite of on-site services including veterinary care. Our investments have delivered a comprehensive, integrated, and technology-enabled ecosystem of channels and offerings, complemented by a rapid innovation capability that is disrupting the pet market and providing pet parents with a differentiated holistic solution for all their pet care needs. For more information regarding our transformation investments, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Innovation and Transformation.”

Our go-to-market strategy is powered by a multi-channel platform that integrates our strong digital presence with our nationwide physical network. Our data-driven digital footprint, consisting of an entirely redesigned e-commerce site and personalized mobile app, delivers an exceptional customer experience and serves as a hub for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By strategically leveraging our extensive physical network consisting of approximately 1,470 pet care centers located within three miles of 54% of our customers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of ship-from-store, BOPUS, and curbside pick-up. This integrated, multi-channel approach clearly resonates with our customers, as the number of customers who engage with us across multiple channels has grown by 20% over the last three years. Further, these multi-channel customers spend between 3x to 6x more with us compared to single-channel customers. In the last 12 months ended October 31, 2020, we achieved approximately 80% retention of our multi-channel customers.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill all the needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages our owned brand portfolio and partnerships with premium third-party brands to deliver high quality food that avoids artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies. We augment this premier product offering with a broad suite of professional services, including grooming as well as in-store and online training. Our service offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, affordable veterinary service platform, which includes full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinarian services. In addition, we are increasingly linking our offerings with subscription programs such as membership and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our over 21 million Active Customers as of October 31, 2020, with our Pals loyalty program members accounting for approximately 80% of transactions in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020. In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 23,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners provide important high-quality advice to our customers in our pet care centers. With our integrated platform and comprehensive offering, we provide a complete pet health and wellness ecosystem that drives engagement across our enterprise and creates life-long customer relationships.

 

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Only Fully-Integrated and Comprehensive Pet Care Ecosystem

 

 

LOGO

Industry Dynamics

The U.S. pet care industry is a large, attractive growth market experiencing a significant acceleration in response to multiple secular themes. The industry serves more than 72 million households with pets and represents a total addressable market of $97 billion in 2020. Since 2008, the industry has grown at a 5% CAGR, driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization. Due to the essential, consumable nature of pet care, the industry has demonstrated resilience across economic cycles. During the Great Recession, the industry delivered strong performance, growing at a CAGR of 6% from 2008 to 2010. With respect to our business, we are strategically focused on growing our presence in three of the fastest-growing areas of the market: services, e-commerce, and veterinary, which are projected to grow at 11%, 14%, and 9% CAGRs, respectively, from 2020 to 2024.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is experiencing a significant increase in demand that is expected to be a tailwind for years to come. According to Packaged Facts, the number of households with pets in the United States is expected to increase by 4% in 2020, creating an estimated $4 billion in incremental annual demand for pet care products. Given the long-term, recurring demand for pet care products and services, which is expected to continue to grow in response to the pet humanization trend, this step function increase in the pet population represents a meaningful acceleration in total industry growth from 5% historically to 7% through 2024, according to Packaged Facts and company internal estimates. As pet care demand continues to grow, we believe we are well-positioned to capture an outsized portion of the growing market as the only fully-integrated, comprehensive pet care provider in the industry.

 

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U.S. Pet Care Industry CAGR

 

  

U.S. Pet Care Industry by Category

 

($ in billions, 2020)

LOGO

  

LOGO

Source: Packaged Facts and company internal estimates.    Source: Packaged Facts and company internal estimates.

Our Transformation

Three years ago, we saw several major opportunities to accelerate our business. First, customers were shifting online and we saw a meaningful opportunity to better leverage our differentiated strengths and physical network to benefit from this shift. Second, research showed that pet parents had multiple care needs across products and services, but they were confused and looking for a partner to help them navigate to the right health and wellness decisions. Third, we recognized a need to become much more analytical and operationally rigorous. Lastly, the organization required clear strategic direction following a period of transition and cost cutting. Over the past three years we have invested over $300 million to support our innovation and business transformation strategies. These investments include: digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; data analytical capabilities; veterinary services; marketing and advertising; and our owned brands. Our transformation actions were focused on the following major initiatives and investments.

Assembled a Next Generation Leadership Team to Drive Transformation.    Two years ago, we hired Ron Coughlin, who previously ran HP’s $33 billion Personal Systems business as Division President and, prior to that, had a successful career in senior executive roles at PepsiCo and experience with businesses in transition. As Chief Executive Officer, he made multiple senior management hires and changes, adding digital and technology, consumer-packaged goods, marketing, and best-in-class retail experience to the leadership team. These executives bring experience from leading companies, including Best Buy, Walmart, Jet.com, Target, Bank of America, Williams Sonoma, and HP, among others. This highly qualified leadership team has implemented significant operational and cultural change to our business, including a substantial acceleration of our digital capabilities, optimizing the effectiveness of pet care center partners through training, enhanced analytic tools and communication, step changed marketing and customer engagement return on investment, launching a veterinary hospital network, and supporting the scaling of our pet health and wellness offerings.

Built Leading E-Commerce and Digital Capabilities that Leverage our Physical Network.    With pet parents increasingly engaging online, we aggressively invested to create a

 

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superior e-commerce and app experience to succeed in the market, improving the speed, navigation, personalization, and services access of our website and app. We focused on optimizing site merchandising, market-based pricing, convenient order delivery within two days, and digital sales conversion rate to successfully attract and retain customers, all of which have experienced noticeable growth since the fourth quarter of 2019. We launched a hassle-free repeat delivery service, which has the highest-rated customer satisfaction in the industry, and provides a revenue stream that increased 13% in Fiscal 2019 and 36% in the first three quarters of Fiscal 2020. To further differentiate and create scale advantages, we leveraged our physical network to roll out key capabilities, including ship-from-store, which grew to over 730 enabled locations as of October 31, 2020, BOPUS, which grew over 275% from February 2, 2020 through October 31, 2020, and curbside pick-up that allow us to meet our customers anywhere they want to shop and provide a significant last-mile fulfilment advantage versus our competition, driven by our distributed inventory and proximity to customers. These efforts have resulted in total e-commerce sales, gross margin and customer lifetime value growth. E-commerce sales grew 33% in Fiscal 2019 and in the first three quarters of Fiscal 2020 e-commerce sales grew 107% while initial margin rate grew 11%.

Reinvented Grooming and Training, and Launched a Full-Service Veterinary Hospital Network.    Pet services represent the most personalized, sticky, high-touch part of the market, which is critical as we focus on acquiring and retaining high-value customers. In grooming, we invested in digital integration, marketing, staff compensation, and other operational improvements to transform a negative growth business in Fiscal 2018 into one that grew 10% in Fiscal 2019 while also adding 470,000 new customers and decreasing groomer turnover by over 30% from Fiscal 2018 to the end of the third quarter of Fiscal 2020. In training, we have led with innovation, and this year launched online training classes that can be conducted at home in order to attract new pet parents. In Fiscal 2017, we embarked on one of the fastest veterinary hospital build-outs in the industry and today offer full-service veterinary care at over 100 pet care centers, driving both incremental service and merchandise sales, and unlocking the prescription food addressable market.

Created a Highly Differentiated Owned and Exclusive Product Offering.    We offer a highly differentiated owned and exclusive product assortment that engenders strong customer loyalty. We focused on three core product differentiating capabilities: nutritional expertise, exclusive partnerships, and a leading owned brand platform. As a testament to our commitment to pet health and wellness, in May 2019 we made the decision to pivot away from dog and cat food and treats that contain artificial ingredients making us the only major national retailer in the industry to take a stand against artificial ingredients in dog and cat food. We utilized a best brands strategy to form new partnerships with some of the most highly regarded premium food brands in the industry, such as Just Food For Dogs.

In 2019, we leveraged our established owned brand platform and capabilities to launch Reddy, a fashion-driven supplies brand, to complement WholeHearted, our premium food brand. We have grown our owned brand sales at a CAGR of 14% between Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2019, and during Fiscal 2019, our owned brands generated sales of $1.1 billion, or approximately 27% of total product sales, up from 17% of sales in Fiscal 2015. The combination of our differentiated food and supplies strategy, including owned and exclusive brands, has enabled us to offer a premium product offering, with more than 50% of our offering not available via online or mass competitors.

Implemented a Performance Culture Led by Data Analytics.    Our differentiated singular view of the customer across products, services, and channels, in combination with insights from our Pals loyalty database, provides access to a robust wealth of data that is difficult to replicate. We implemented new capabilities to leverage these data to inform strategic and tactical decision-making across our organization, and ultimately drive higher customer engagement and lifetime value. We created a singular view of our customer to drive everything from marketing decisions and innovation of new products and services to how we operate our pet care centers. In our pet care centers, we have pushed data down to our pet care center General Managers and field leadership teams through advanced sales reporting to enhance decision-making. We developed a user-friendly, action-focused dashboard (HUB), which enables our managers to track performance across multiple dimensions, identify opportunities, and execute strategies to drive incremental sales. We also simplified the key

 

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metrics that we utilize to track performance and aligned incentives against those metrics by rolling out a revamped incentive structure across our field organization.

Attracted Exceptional Talent in Key Growth Areas.    As part of our strategic evolution, we recruited next generation talent across various levels and functional areas throughout the organization. In addition to systems investments, we added over 100 technology and analytics experts supporting our e-commerce and technology innovation efforts. In the field and services areas, we strategically acquired senior talent from leading companies in the retail, hospitality, and consumer sectors. We created effective training programs to develop critical skills, driving increased employee engagement and retention. In veterinary, we built a team of veterinarians, veterinary hospital operators, and veterinarian staff recruiters from leading companies in order to rapidly scale our model. We are dedicated to leveraging our rich diversity of talent to foster a culture that supports an open forum for idea exchange, promotes an environment of inclusion, and builds connections with our communities, partners, and vendors. Our team additions and investment in talent development have not only helped to raise our performance expectations, but have been instrumental in creating a purpose-driven performance culture across the organization.

For more information regarding our transformation investments, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Innovation and Transformation.”

Despite everything we have accomplished in recent years (and our accelerating momentum in 2020), we believe that we are just getting started. The transformational investments and initiatives of the last three years strategically position us to pursue numerous opportunities that we believe will drive long-term growth. As we look ahead, we could not be more excited for the future.

Our Competitive Strengths

Category-Defining Brand with Long-Term Customer Relationships Built on Trust

Since our founding in 1965, we have focused on building long-term relationships with pet parents by providing an exceptional customer experience. Our top-of-mind awareness is among the highest in the industry, cited by 28% of customers as the first brand that comes to mind when asked to name a brand in pet products. Across our platform, we have a team of over 23,000 highly trained pet care experts who love animals and are passionate about sharing their expertise with pet parents. Through our people—such as digital experts, sales and engagement partners, groomers, trainers, companion animal experts, and veterinarians—we are able to build and maintain long-term, high-touch relationships with pet parents.

Our brand is consistently strengthened by the touchpoints we have with our customers across channels, products, and services. As of October 31, 2020, we served over 21 million Active Customers, with members of our Pals loyalty program representing approximately 80% of our transactions in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020 and ranking among the largest loyalty programs in the industry. We leverage the data from our Pals program via in-store technology (including hand-held devices that our partners use to assist customers with shopping), content, and recommendations in a highly personalized manner. Our customer relationships are built on trust and supported by high customer affinity, as demonstrated by our average nine-out-of-ten Voice of Consumer rating in the first three quarters of Fiscal 2020.

The Only Fully-Integrated Comprehensive Offering of Pet Products and Services Nationwide

We provide the only fully-integrated comprehensive offering of pet care products and services that meet the needs of pet parents everywhere—something that none of our competitors currently offer.

Our product strategy is built around an extensive offering that features premium owned and partner brands known for quality and innovation. We offer leading varieties of wholesome, premium

 

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food that build upon our expertise in pet nutrition. For example, we proudly offer premium brands such as human-grade Just Food For Dogs, which are not widely available in other national pet specialty stores. In addition to food, we offer a wide range of pet supplies to meet the needs of pet parents. The combination of our differentiated food and supplies strategy, including owned and exclusive brands, has enabled us to offer a premium product offering, with more than 50% of our offering not available via online or mass competitors.

Our service offering consists of professional grooming, training, and veterinary services. In addition to acting as a profitable driver of new customer acquisition, our service platform helps retain and expand the yearly spend of existing customers, drive visit frequency and digital engagement, and build long-term loyalty.

Through our connected multi-channel ecosystem, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering across all channels to meet our customer wherever, whenever, and however they want to shop. During the nine months ended October 31, 2020, customers who shopped across the four channels we track for these purposes (pet care center merchandise, e-commerce and digital, grooming and training services, and veterinary services including veterinary hospitals and Vetco clinics) spent on average 6x with us versus customers who only shopped one of these channels. Demonstrating the impact of our comprehensive ecosystem on our pet care centers, our 90 pet care centers that offer grooming, training veterinary services, ship-from-store, and BOPUS generate on average 91% higher revenue, as measured over the last 12 months ended October 31, 2020, than that of our average pet care center in Fiscal 2017.

Connected Ecosystem Combining Leading Digital Capabilities and a Strategic Physical Network

We have built a connected ecosystem comprising leading digital capabilities and a national physical network. Through our Petco.com website and Petco app, we offer premier digital navigation, speed, assortment, market-based pricing, content, and personalization features. Through our physical network, we have the ability to consistently fulfill and deliver a growing assortment of products directly to consumers in addition to convenient offerings such as BOPUS and curbside pick-up. Our physical proximity to our customers also provides us a significant last-mile cost advantage relative to competitors. In the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, approximately 80% of Petco.com orders were fulfilled by our pet care centers, either as ship-from-store, BOPUS, or curbside pick-up. Additionally, we have experienced increasing pet care center sales through our Petco app since its launch, with many pet parents electing to take advantage of BOPUS and curbside pick-up for their orders. For customers seeking even greater convenience, we offer repeat delivery options that facilitate recurring purchases. Our repeat delivery revenue stream increased 13% in Fiscal 2019, and for the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, BOPUS purchases and repeat deliveries of products accounted for 61% of Petco.com sales. Finally, we continually leverage our digital capabilities to innovate, such as online booking of grooming appointments, convenient at-home services like on-line training, and mobile grooming. Our connected ecosystem provides us with a singular view of our customer, which fuels our highly effective performance marketing function to drive repeat visits and grow customer lifetime value. For the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, we achieved a Petco.com customer retention rate that was 12% higher than that of the prior year period.

Rapidly Growing Veterinary Services Offering Stack

According to Packaged Facts, more than 70% of pet owners have concerns about the affordability of veterinary healthcare. In response, we have established a differentiated and highly scalable, affordable veterinary healthcare service platform that consists of our full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinary services. In Fiscal 2019, we serviced over 400,000 customers through our veterinary offering platform.

We are rapidly expanding our full-service veterinary hospitals across the country to provide expanded service coverage. By integrating these veterinary hospitals into existing pet care centers, we

 

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benefit from significant structural advantages compared to existing veterinary care providers, positioning us to deliver a more affordable solution to our customers. Through our digitally enabled approach, we offer competitive and affordable exam fees, supported by convenient online appointment scheduling, text reminders and weekend booking availability. We have experienced strong early success from our veterinary hospital strategy driven by highly compelling unit economics. Our veterinary hospitals have historically required approximately $600,000 in build-out costs and generate four-wall profitability by year two. We target sales and four-wall EBITDA margins at maturity of approximately $1.5 million and 20%, respectively. The ability for customers to conveniently purchase health-related products, including prescription food, at the time of a veterinary appointment creates a strong complementary relationship in an under-penetrated category for Petco. Despite reducing the total selling square footage of an existing pet center when we add a veterinary hospital, we experience a sales uplift in merchandise and non-veterinary services. Average non-veterinary sales increased by approximately 600 basis points in the first year of veterinary hospital operations. Additionally, sales of prescription food, which require an on-site veterinary hospital, are currently averaging an incremental $1,000 of sales per week per pet care center. Our recent introduction of Petco Vital Care Membership, a subscription program that provides access to our holistic health and wellness offering, and Petco Insurance leverage our growing veterinary services network to provide incremental benefits and convenience for customers.

Industry-Leading Grooming and Training Business Driving Recurring Trip Frequency

Leveraging our strategic physical network, we have built one of the largest grooming and training businesses in the pet care industry. These essential services drive recurring visits into our pet care centers, allowing us to earn a greater share of wallet from our customers, as demonstrated by the fact that over the past three years our service customers tend to spend 2x as much with us compared to our non-service customers.

In our grooming business, we served over 2 million pets across approximately 1,350 of our pet care centers during Fiscal 2019. We are building on the success of our investment strategy with the addition of new elements such as our “Spa Club” grooming loyalty program, breed-specific marketing, and mobile grooming. Spa Club has helped drive a 14% improvement in customer retention rate between the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2018 and the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2019.

In our training business, we served over 180,000 pets across approximately 1,470 pet care centers during Fiscal 2019. Because training is generally conducted at an early stage in a pet’s life, this offering is a strategic customer acquisition tool to engender long-term loyalty with new pet parents. We continue to focus on augmenting our core in-store training offering with the launch of at-home and online training classes. In Fiscal 2019, on average, our training customers spent 3.3x more with us than our non-training customers.

Premier Owned Brand Product Development and Innovation Platform

We operate a leading, owned brand portfolio that has grown rapidly and is highly accretive to our product gross margins, typically driving a margin rate that is more than 1,000 basis points higher than comparable third-party brands. Our extensive direct customer relationships provide us with insights that allow us to identify unmet customer needs and trends and rapidly build products and services around those needs. We have an established infrastructure for developing, launching, and fostering growth in owned brand products, including an in-house packaged goods insights function, experienced fashion leadership, and a dedicated sourcing office in Asia.

Over the last three years, we have demonstrated the speed and depth of our innovation platform through the launch of 89 new brands and 5,000 new products. In 2016, we launched our first major proprietary pet food brand, WholeHearted, which features a premium ingredient panel, an attractive price point, quality packaging, and authentic branding that effectively targets millennial pet parents. In Fiscal 2019, we launched Reddy, our proprietary supplies brand that features premium fabrics and

 

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urban contemporary styling appealing to fashion-focused pet parents. We also believe our Well & Good brand has similar potential to tap into customer demand for premium wellness products. Sales of our owned brand portfolio have grown at a 14% CAGR between Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2019, and for Fiscal 2019, our owned brands generated sales of $1.1 billion, or approximately 27% of total product sales, up from 17% of product sales in Fiscal 2015.

Best-in-Pet Technology Capabilities

We have developed the ability to compete with the best-in-class innovation capabilities of our competitors. We invested over $150 million over the past three years in our digital systems and recruited leading digital talent, employing over 100 technology and analytics experts organized in rapid deployment “squad” structures linked to major areas like e-commerce, services, and CRM. Our operating experience and insights enable us to develop, test, and scale solutions in a rapid innovation cycle. We also seek to leverage our existing assets and advantages in the market to ensure our innovation implementations are not easily replicable by the competition. In the last 24 months, we have launched new programs, such as curbside pick-up, online dog training, an online food coach, our complete pet wellness app, pet medical record consolidation, and Petco Vital Care Membership. Our ability to leverage our physical network has been a distinct competitive advantage. We believe our advanced innovation capabilities provide us with insights and opportunities to continue to enhance customer engagement, rapidly improve our offerings, and expand into new product and service lines faster and better than competitors.

Highly Experienced and Proven Management Team

We have an experienced and proven management team of successful retail, consumer, and technology industry veterans and a deep bench of talent supporting our emerging services, e-commerce, and omni-channel competencies.

 

   

Our Chief Executive Officer, Ron Coughlin, who has been with Petco for over two years, brings 11 years of experience at HP, including eight as Division President, and 13 years of marketing experience at PepsiCo where he left as a Chief Marketing Officer

 

   

Our Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Michael Nuzzo, actively oversees our supply chain and our services and veterinary businesses, after joining us in 2015, and has over 20 years of experience managing financial and operational strategy at leading public and private retail companies, including GNC and Abercrombie & Fitch

 

   

Our Chief Digital & Innovation Officer, Darren MacDonald, brings critical e-commerce experience, having built one of the leading global e-commerce platforms during his prior roles at Walmart and Jet.com, and having developed one of the most trafficked online shopping comparison engines as CEO of Pronto Network, an IAC company

 

   

Our Chief Pet Care Center Officer, Justin Tichy, offers deep field experience with leading store teams at public retail companies, including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart

 

   

Our Chief Merchandising Officer, Nick Konat, brings leading consumer and retail expertise from managing merchandising strategies at Target as well as from his experience as a consultant at Accenture

 

   

Our Chief Human Resources Officer, Michelle Bonfilio, has prior experience in the pet industry and senior human resources roles with leading public retailers, including The Gap and Williams Sonoma

 

   

Our Chief Information and Administrative Offer, John Zavada, brings valuable information technology experience, formerly serving as CIO of Restoration Hardware and L Brands, among others

 

   

Our Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Ilene Eskenazi, brings over 20 years of legal experience from leading retail, apparel, and consumer packaged goods companies, having served as general counsel for other leading global brands such as Red Bull and True Religion

 

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Our Chief Marketing Officer, Tariq Hassan, brings significant marketing, brand management and communications experience, having served in leadership roles at Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard Company (now HP Inc.)

The balance of the senior team has experience from a host of high caliber companies.

Our Growth Strategies

Building upon our success to date, we see a significant opportunity to drive long-term growth across our business by executing on the following growth strategies:

Continue to Acquire New Customers and Drive Engagement Across All our Channels.

 

   

Acquire New Customers: Strong secular trends in the industry are introducing new pet parents to the category. We are distinctively positioned to acquire new customers through our effective marketing, e-commerce engagement, new pet programs, Pals loyalty program, Petco app, and sticky services offerings, as well as our strategic physical network, which provides a low-cost acquisition and powerful brand awareness vehicle. As one of the most recognizable brands in the industry and the only fully-integrated complete solution for all pet health and wellness needs, we are distinctively positioned to successfully acquire new customers looking for the best first stop as new pet parents.

 

   

Increase Engagement and Monetization Across All Channels and Offerings: Our multi-channel and multi-category customers represent our highest yearly and lifetime value spend levels and will be a meaningful contributor to our future growth. During the 12 months ended October 31, 2020, we achieved approximately 80% retention of our multi-channel customers. Over that same period, customers who engage with us across two or more channels spend on average 2.8x as much as our single-channel customers spend, and those who engage with us across three or more channels and all four channels spend on average 4.4x to 6.4x as much, respectively. We plan to drive these spend levels higher as we scale our e-commerce platform and full-service veterinary hospitals. Further, we believe we have an embedded opportunity to significantly grow the value of our active customer base by attracting customers to additional channels, leveraging our comprehensive health and wellness offering, in-store cross-selling, Petco app, advanced CRM capabilities, and subscription programs like repeat delivery, which directly facilitate multi-channel purchases.

Relative Spend by Customer Type (Indexed to Single-Channel Customer)

 

 

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Source: Company data; customer spend data are as of the 12 months ended October 31, 2020; during the 12 months ended October 31, 2020, our average single-channel customer spent approximately $150.

Note: Channels consist of pet care center merchandise, e-commerce and digital, grooming and training services, and veterinary services.

 

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Maximize Customer Engagement and Loyalty with Subscription Programs: Beyond our repeat delivery program, we have only begun to capitalize on subscription revenue opportunities, including through the recent launches of additional value-add subscription programs:

 

   

Petco Vital Care Membership: an annual fee-based membership program that provides preferred access to our holistic health and wellness offering across products, grooming, and veterinary care;

 

   

PupBox: a service that provides monthly shipments of premium food, treats, and merchandise to puppy parents; and

 

   

Petco Insurance: an annual service that provides affordable, full-service pet health coverage with added pet product and services perquisites not offered by traditional insurance company plans.

All three programs have experienced strong initial customer reception to date. While these programs are relatively nascent, we are excited by the opportunity to bring together our product and service offerings under subscription programs that we believe will positively impact the customer experience while providing us with an attractive revenue stream from subscription businesses.

Continue to Grow Our Digital Business.

We intend to leverage our fully-integrated ecosystem, high-performance website and mobile app experience, fulfilment cost advantages, and differentiated services offerings to capitalize on the continued strong growth of e-commerce in the pet industry. In particular, we expect the continued expansion of BOPUS and curbside pick-up, which we are able to offer profitably given our strategic physical network, to allow us to substantially grow e-commerce sales while maintaining a leading customer fulfillment proposition. Our ability to connect our online platform with our in-person offerings, such as grooming, training, and veterinary care, creates a “flywheel” that drives greater online visits, which in turn create more opportunities for cross-selling other products and services. By leveraging our technology and operational assets, we plan to continue delivering innovation and new multi-channel offerings with a goal of meeting or exceeding overall pet e-commerce industry growth, as well as increasing our e-commerce penetration.

Expand Our Health & Wellness Services.

 

   

Rapid Expansion of our Differentiated Veterinary Services:    Veterinary care is one of the fastest-growing categories in the pet industry and one of our key strategic priorities. Through our comprehensive veterinary offering stack and affordable care positioning, we are disrupting the industry and intend to gain market share by expanding on our proven, replicable model of offering affordable, high-quality veterinary services to pet parents everywhere. We have experienced strong results from the 105 full-service veterinary hospitals currently open and plan to continue to add 60 to 70 hospitals per year to new, relocated, and remodeled pet care centers as we execute on a 900+ location white space. We also have the opportunity to utilize tele-veterinary services to grow the revenue base of our hospitals through convenient online appointments. Outside of our full-service veterinary hospitals, we are expanding our Vetco clinic business both within Petco and through partnerships with other retail partners. We believe that through our affordable, convenient, and tech-enabled veterinary proposition, we are well-positioned to capture increasing share in the attractive veterinary services market while driving overall share of customer wallet by marketing and cross-selling our non-veterinary offerings.

 

   

Continue to Grow Our Core Grooming and Training Businesses:    The grooming and training markets are highly fragmented and offer us an opportunity to meaningfully grow our market share. Grooming is a large addressable market in the United States, representing approximately $3 billion in 2020, according to Packaged Facts. Relative to our competitors, our scale and digital capabilities, such as convenient online scheduling, provide us with a

 

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compelling advantage. In our grooming business, we have an opportunity to increase productivity by adding staff to meet elevated customer demand, selling higher priced service packages, and adding mobile grooming capabilities to capture demand for at-home services. In our training business, we have a multi-year growth opportunity with our recently expanded offerings beyond our standard in-store group classes, including private, one-on-one classes both in-store and at-home, as well as online training classes taught by our elite trainers.

Drive Product Sales with Emphasis on Owned Brand Innovation and Exclusive Brands.

We have a significant opportunity to leverage our differentiated owned brand development and innovation capabilities to accelerate growth of our leading owned brand portfolio, which has experienced growth at a CAGR of 14% between Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2019. During Fiscal 2019, our owned brand business accounted for $1.1 billion of sales, or 27% of total product sales, driven by the success of our WholeHearted and recently launched Reddy brands, and our exclusive and differentiated product offerings accounted for $1.7 billion of sales, or 43%, of total product sales. Looking ahead, owned brands are a key strategic priority for us as we will leverage consumer insights to drive continued innovation in our offerings across food and supplies in a manner that is differentiated relative to our competitors. Additionally, we intend to grow our brand portfolio through new partnerships with premium brands in the industry, as well as expanding existing partnerships, such as a broader rollout of Just Food For Dogs pantries and on-site kitchens. Our differentiated food and supplies offering is a key driver of customer loyalty and stickiness, with more than 50% of our offering not available in online or mass competitors.

Leverage Category Capabilities to Expand Our Offerings and Geographies.

Our journey is just beginning. Our fully-integrated multi-channel ecosystem provides us with tremendous data and insights, as well as the ability to continually innovate and add new capabilities and offerings. We plan to continue to add to our service offerings with new elements of our breed-specific at-home and online training classes. In the subscription offering area, we are planning initiatives in proprietary credit card, membership, and wellness programs. Within our technology platform, we plan to build upon our strong momentum to rapidly innovate and roll out new capabilities.

Internationally, we see significant opportunity to deploy our comprehensive model to expand our presence in new markets. We will leverage the success of our joint venture with Grupo Gigante in Mexico, where we have over 80 locations, and our wholesale partnership with Canadian Tire in Canada, where we have Petco products in approximately 450 locations, including the initial launch and build-out of dedicated Petco shop-in-shops, to continue to grow in these geographies. Looking ahead, we also see a meaningful opportunity to pursue a wholesale distribution approach like with Canadian Tire in new international geographies in Central and South America, Europe, and Asia.

Our Industry

The U.S. pet care industry is a large, attractive growth market experiencing a significant acceleration in response to multiple secular consumer themes. In 2020, the industry is expected to serve more than 72 million households with pets, representing a total addressable market of $97 billion. Due to its non-discretionary nature, the market has demonstrated a long-term track record of consistent growth and resilience throughout economic cycles. From 2020 to 2024, the industry is expected to grow at a 7% CAGR, driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization and COVID-19.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is experiencing a significant increase in demand that is expected to be a tailwind for years to come, given the long-term, subscription-like demand for pet care products and services. Packaged Facts predicts a 4% growth in pet-owning households in 2020. Although this step function increase in the pet population was offset in 2020 by a decrease in consumption of services (including veterinary services) during COVID-19 shutdowns, it represents a meaningful, long-term change in total industry growth from 5% historically to 7% through 2024, according to Packaged Facts and company internal estimates.

 

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U.S. Pet Care Industry Sales ($ in billion)

 

 

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Source: 2008 to 2014 based on aggregation from American Pet Products Association and Packaged Facts. 2014 to 2024E based on Packaged Facts as adjusted for company internal estimates. US GDP Growth based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

The U.S. pet industry is broadly broken down into two categories: pet products, which includes non-discretionary food and supplies; and pet services, which includes essential veterinary services and non-medical services, such as grooming and training. Through our complete pet health and wellness ecosystem, we address all of these categories in a distinctive and holistic manner.

Pet Products

In 2020, the pet products category is expected to represent a $61 billion market consisting of the $39 billion pet consumables, $20 billion pet supplies, and $2 billion companion animals categories. Based on Packaged Facts and company internal estimates, pet food and supplies are forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5% and 4%, respectively, from 2020 to 2024.

Within the pet products category, the pet specialty channel represents a 22% category share as of June 2020, according to Packaged Facts. Petco has significant brand dominance within the category, with approximately 31% market share of the total U.S. pet specialty channel as of 2019. With its dedicated focus and large assortment of pet products and services, the pet specialty channel is most competitively positioned to capitalize on category trends such as pet humanization, pet ownership growth, and growing demand for a one-stop destination for pet care.

Pet Services

The pet services category represents a $35 billion market consisting of the $27 billion veterinary services and $8 billion non-medical services categories in 2020. According to Packaged Facts and

 

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company internal estimates, veterinary services and non-medical services are forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 9% and 14%, respectively, from 2020 to 2024. The pet services category is primarily addressed by pet specialty and veterinarian channels.

The same trends positively impacting the pet products market are also driving increased consumption of pet services, including veterinary, grooming, and training. We believe that the main drivers of consumer selection of service providers are trust, price, quality of care, and convenience. We believe that our integrated platform and comprehensive offering differentiate us from our competition and position us to benefit from the continued growth in pet services, as well as to grow share in what remains a highly fragmented market.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Industry

Although the COVID-19 crisis has presented significant challenges to the broader economy, the pandemic has accelerated several consumer trends that have meaningfully benefited the pet care industry, which has been deemed essential by federal, state, and local authorities. Pet adoption and purchase has accelerated meaningfully as consumers spend more time at home and outdoors, and have an increasing desire for companionship, a need to entertain children, and a growing appreciation for the physical and mental health and wellness benefits of pet parenthood. According to Packaged Facts, over 86% and 84% of dog and cat owners, respectively, agree that pets have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. In addition, consumers are increasingly migrating from urban cities to less densely populated communities, which are more conducive to raising a pet.

Industry Trends

The following key trends have historically driven, and continue to drive, strong growth in the industry:

 

   

Large, Resilient Category with Favorable Long-Term Trends.    The pet industry is a large, stable market that has consistently demonstrated resilience across economic cycles, driven by the non-discretionary replenishment nature of consumable products and services such as pet food, grooming, and veterinary services.

 

   

Continued Momentum Behind the Pet Humanization Trend.    The pet humanization trend remains strong with 94% of pet parents agreeing “I consider my dog or cat to be part of my family,” according to Packaged Facts. In addition, according to an internal study, 94% of dog parents want to provide the healthiest, most nutritious food for their pet, but only 58% are confident they are doing so. These dynamics have resulted in increasing demand for premium pet care goods and services as pet parents seek to provide their pets with the best care possible. According to Packaged Facts, the annual spend per pet has grown at a 4% CAGR from $1,179 in 2015 to $1,401 in 2019.

 

   

Growing Consumption of Pet Health Services.    Attributable in part to the pet humanization trend, demand for pet health services has risen dramatically in recent years. Veterinary services represent the second-largest market within pet health services, having generated $27 billion of revenue in 2020.

Rising focus on pet health is also driving increased adoption of pet insurance, especially in developed markets, where the rates of insured pets are as high as 25%. In the United States, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association reported that only 2% of pets are estimated to be covered by insurance, which implies potential for significant growth.

 

   

Shift Toward Digital, including Increased E-Commerce Penetration.    Pet parents are spending a greater share of their total pet care spend online. In the last several years, online growth has been driven by the increased adoption of pet food subscription programs and the general expansion of online membership services, which cover most major consumer packaged goods categories.

 

   

Increased Customer Focus on Total Solutions and the Value of an Integrated Offering.    Convenience is playing an increasingly important role in the pet care industry as

 

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consumers become accustomed to online purchasing and subscription services. The ability to offer a one-stop destination for customers to manage all pet care needs, whether in store, online, in-home, or on a mobile device, is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage versus pure-play online, mass, and smaller independent specialty retailers. This is demonstrated by a recent Lippincott survey that stated that half of all pet parents prefer a one-stop experience and 73% of pet parents expect to make more purchases with a membership program.

 

   

Strong Growth Trends in International Markets.    The pet humanization trend continues to proliferate across the globe, with several countries around the world emerging as promising growth markets for the pet industry. Over the last several years, developing countries such as China and Mexico have experienced strong economic growth that has given rise to an expanding middle class with growing disposable income, driving increased pet ownership and spending on pets. Other countries in both South America and Asia have exhibited similar macro trends that are contributing to increased consumption on pet products and services.

These favorable tailwinds have driven strong and consistent growth in the industry, with spending on pets projected by Packaged Facts to reach $126 billion in the United States in 2024, up from $97 billion in 2020, representing a CAGR of 7%.

Our Comprehensive Offering

Product Offering

We offer a comprehensive product offering consisting of over 57,000 products across pet food, supplies, and companion animals available through our physical and online channels. In Fiscal 2019, 51% of our product sales comprised non-discretionary consumable products, such as food and supplements, which feature high purchase frequency over the life of a pet and sticky characteristics due to a strong desire for pet parents to avoid switching food brands. In addition, in Fiscal 2019, we generated more than 27% of our product sales from owned brands—such as WholeHearted, Reddy, and Well & Good. This represents a much higher percentage of our merchandise mix compared to our online competitors, helps the Petco ecosystem attract and retain customers, and also offers us an enhanced margin profile as owned brands, on average, have a more than 1,000 basis points higher margin than comparable third-party brands.

 

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Service Offering

We offer the industry’s only fully-integrated comprehensive service offering that includes professional grooming, training and veterinary services. Unlike some other consumer purchases, the services we offer for pet parents are essential, recurring, and high frequency in nature. In addition to acting as a profitable driver of new customer acquisition, our service platform helps retain customers,

 

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drive physical visit frequency and digital engagement, and build long-term loyalty. During Fiscal 2019, our service offering sales grew 14% year-over-year, and represented approximately 9% of sales. As one of the fastest-growing parts of our business, we expect services as a percentage of sales to grow meaningfully as we continue to expand on our new Nexus format for our pet care centers, which has resulted in a higher mix of services relative to the pre-Nexus format mix.

 

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Multi-Channel Platform

We have developed a data-driven go-to-market platform consisting of robust digital capabilities and a strategic physical network of pet care centers woven together by a singular view of the customer.

Data

We have built a proprietary customer database leveraging information collected across our digital and physical network to construct a singular view of each of our customers. Between our Pals program and our ability to capture purchase information across our channels, we have one of the most robust databases of Active Customers and pet spend in the industry. From these data, we identify customer cohorts, cross-selling opportunities, new pet parent trends, breed-specific purchase patterns, and the likelihood of certain customers trying services, in addition to other trends. Data analysis forms the basis for ongoing marketing activities, product development, and operational improvements.

Digital Capabilities

Over the last two years, we have implemented a radical transformation in our digital business spanning core site experience, offerings, and capabilities. Today, our robust digital capabilities consist of an entirely redesigned website, featuring an enhanced product discovery experience, and easy-to-use navigation of top brands, as well as a proprietary and personalized app that serves as a singular pet management center that helps pet parents track their health, wellness, and merchandise interactions with us. These digital capabilities have created a seamless multi-channel experience for our customers who, after downloading the app, spend increasingly more with us as they take advantage of more features offered on our digital platforms.

 

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With repeat delivery, BOPUS, and curbside pick-up capabilities, guests can receive products more quickly and conveniently than pet-oriented online-only competitors who offer no option for same day shipping, which we plan to begin offering in December 2020. These capabilities seamlessly link our digital presence with our physical network, which positions us to more effectively serve our customers.

 

 

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Physical Network

We operate approximately 1,470 pet care centers across the United States and Puerto Rico. Our Petco locations average approximately 14,000 square feet and typically carry 10,000 core SKUs, with nearly all offering grooming and training services, 800 offering Vetco clinics, and 105 offering full-service veterinary hospitals. We operate 59 locations in the United States under our Unleashed brand, our concept which caters to more urban areas, as well as 89 locations in Mexico through our joint venture with Grupo Gigante.

Over the last five years, we have used our new Nexus format for our new and remodeled pet care centers. This new proven format features a modernized in-store experience by showcasing our differentiated service offering, elevated nutrition engagement, and companion animal theater. Currently, our new Nexus format incorporates revenue-driving elements like ship-from-store fulfillment stations, full-service veterinary hospitals, Just Food For Dogs pantries and kitchens, Reddy branded shops, and prescription food assortment. We have also incorporated more in-store technology, including hand-held devices for our partners to assist customers with shopping, content, and recommendations.

 

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Our new Nexus remodel strategy has demonstrated significant economic benefits. As of the end of Fiscal 2019, the 81 locations with the new Nexus format and the revenue-driving elements (including the full-service veterinary hospital) cited above have, on average, experienced a lift in sales of approximately 600 basis points in the first full year post-remodel. As we continue to expand our Nexus format across our physical network, including veterinary hospitals, we expect to meaningfully increase the productivity and profitability generated by each pet care center, resulting in significant long-term growth for our company.

 

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Marketing and Advertising

Over the last two years, we have completely overhauled our marketing and media strategy. The upgrade has been powered by talent infusions from Jet.com, Target, Bank of America, Pepsico, REI’s membership group, HP, Kraft, and Samsung. The rebirth began with the major announcement of Petco’s commitment to eliminate artificial ingredients. This announcement was Petco’s largest PR/Media event impact in its history, strengthened brand awareness, and put Petco on the road to becoming a marketing-driven company. This was followed by a build-out of marketing behind our services offerings that helped drive our revenue growth from negative mid-single digits to positive growth of 14% in Fiscal 2019. We then built a world-class performance marketing capability that has meaningfully accelerated our e-Commerce business growth and positively impacted pet care center sales.

Correspondingly, we have seen a dramatic improvement in marketing return on investment. Our return on advertising spend (ROAS) more than doubles the median retailer ROAS of $3.00, and even exceeds the ROAS of specialty retailers in the 75th percentile of $6.37 per Nielsen. This strong return has given us an industry-leading customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio. We have been able to achieve these results through capability builds in insights, analytics, advanced digital marketing, analytics and improved CRM and loyalty expertise. As a result, marketing and advertising has become a “flywheel” driver of our recent strong business results.

 

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Our Partners

Our Petco partners are our most significant assets, critical to the delivery of our transformation. Our store partners offer a level of customer engagement and content that is differentiated in retail and based on a true passion for pets. Over the past two years, we streamlined methods for setting executional priorities, provided comprehensive selling training, developed store-level sales marketing capabilities, and recaptured our partners’ hearts through enhanced benefits, employee resource groups, and constant communication through tools like Workplace, an intra-company communication and collaboration platform. These efforts have increased our customer satisfaction scores, decreased partner attrition by 3% in Fiscal 2019 over the previous year, and improved our revenue per employee-hour. Our partners, including our groomers and trainers, are primarily employed on an at-will basis, and are compensated through base salary and incentive programs.

 

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Distribution Network

We operate five primary and three regional distribution centers located in various parts of the United States that handle almost all distribution for our company. Bulk items are shipped either directly from our main distribution centers or regional distribution centers to our pet care centers across the country. Manufacturers ship product to both the main and regional distribution centers. Over the past three years, we have continued to enhance warehouse and transportation information systems, our facilities, and links with our pet center fulfillment infrastructure. We currently fulfill orders from our e-commerce customers through all of our main distribution centers or directly from pet care centers. Our ship-from-store, BOPUS, and curbside programs enhance our distribution network, allowing us to more quickly and cost effectively serve our customers. During the three quarters of Fiscal 2020, approximately 80% of digital orders (including BOPUS and ship-from-store) were fulfilled by pet care centers, which has allowed us to deliver product more quickly and cost-effectively than we otherwise could by using traditional distribution center fulfillment. On average, BOPUS orders provide 4% higher margins than standalone online orders.

We only sell the products we carry directly to consumers and primarily purchase our products directly from our vendors rather than through third-party distributors. As such, we do not rely on third-party distributors to conduct our business. Any relationships we have with third-party distributors are governed by non-exclusive agreements that do not obligate us to minimum volume or fees, and such agreements may be terminated by either party on 90 days’ prior written notice.

 

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Vendor and Veterinarian Arrangements

We purchase merchandise from over 200 vendors. In Fiscal 2019, our top vendor represented approximately 5% of annual sales, and in the thirty-nine weeks ended October 31, 2020, no single vendor accounted for more than 5% of our sales. We onboard our vendors using a standardized process to confirm their adherence to our standards, policies, and procedures, including those relating to legal compliance, standard payment terms, and product quality. These relationships are typically governed by our standard vendor terms and conditions, under which we submit purchase orders to our vendors specifying the types, quantities, and agreed prices for merchandise that we intend to purchase from them. These agreements do not typically have minimum order requirements or exclusivity obligations for either party. Our terms and conditions do not have a set term but allow us to terminate the relationship for convenience at any time upon written notice to the vendor. Our vendors may terminate the relationship on 90-days’ written notice but are obligated to perform any purchase order accepted prior to such no