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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended January 28, 2023

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM TO

Commission File Number 001-39878

 

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

81-1005932

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

10850 Via Frontera

San Diego, California

92127

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (858) 453-7845

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

 

WOOF

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, 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 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of the Common Stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on July 30, 2022, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $1.13 billion.

The number of shares of registrant’s Class A Common Stock outstanding as of March 23, 2023 was 228,963,580.

The number of shares of registrant’s Class B-1 Common Stock outstanding as of March 23, 2023 was 37,790,781.

The number of shares of registrant’s Class B-2 Common Stock outstanding as of March 23, 2023 was 37,790,781.

 

Auditor Firm Id:

42

Auditor Name:

Ernst & Young LLP

Auditor Location:

San Diego, California

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

The information required by Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, to the extent not set forth herein, is incorporated herein by reference from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the registrant’s 2023 annual meeting of stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this Annual Report on Form 10-K relates.

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

7

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

14

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

42

Item 2.

Properties

42

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

42

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

42

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

43

Item 6.

[Reserved]

44

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

45

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

60

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

62

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

98

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

98

Item 9B.

Other Information

98

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

99

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

100

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

100

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

100

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

100

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

100

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

101

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

104

Signatures

105

 

1


 

Note on the Presentation

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to (i) “Petco,” “our company,” “we,” “our,” and “us,” or like terms, refer to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries, individually and/or collectively, and (ii) “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.

We are currently indirectly controlled by certain funds (the “CVC Funds”) that are advised and/or managed by CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a Canadian company (together with its affiliates, “CPP Investments” and, together with the CVC Funds, our “Sponsors”). Our Sponsors primarily exercise their control through Scooby Aggregator, LP (our “Principal Stockholder”).

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 2022 refer to the fiscal year beginning January 30, 2022 and ending January 28, 2023.

 

Industry and Market Data

This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes market data and forecasts with respect to the pet care industry. Although we are responsible for all of the disclosure contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on independent industry publications, government publications, reports by market research firms or other published independent sources, such as 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” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. As a result, although we believe that these sources are reliable, we have not independently verified the information.

2


 

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), 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, including statements regarding: our expectations with respect to our revenue, expenses, profitability, and other operating results; our growth plans; our ability to compete effectively in the markets in which we participate; the execution on our transformation initiatives; and the impact of certain macroeconomic factors, including inflationary pressures, global supply chain constraints and global economic and geopolitical developments, on our business. Forward-looking and other statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may also address our progress, plans, and goals with respect to sustainability initiatives, and the inclusion of such statements is not an indication that these contents are necessarily material to investors or required to be disclosed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such plans and goals may change, and statements regarding such plans and goals are not guarantees or promises that they will be met. In addition, historical, current, and forward-looking sustainability-related statements may be based on standards for measuring progress that are still developing, internal controls and processes that continue to evolve, and assumptions that are subject to change in the future.

Such forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terms such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “intends,” “will,” “shall,” “should,” “anticipates,” “opportunity,” “illustrative”, or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. 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 or that any forward-looking results will occur or be realized. Nothing contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is, or should be relied upon as, a promise or representation or warranty as to any future matter, including any matter in respect of our operations or business or financial condition. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions about future events that may or may not be correct or necessarily take place and that are by their nature subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are outside of our control.

Forward-looking statements are subject to many risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from the potential results or events discussed in such forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, those identified in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as well as the following: (i) increased competition (including from multi-channel retailers and e-Commerce providers); (ii) reduced consumer demand for our products and/or services; (iii) our reliance on key vendors; (iv) our ability to attract and retain qualified employees; (v) risks arising from statutory, regulatory and/or legal developments; (vi) macroeconomic pressures in the markets in which we operate, including inflation and prevailing interest rates; (vii) failure to effectively manage our costs; (viii) our reliance on our information technology systems; (ix) our ability to prevent or effectively respond to a privacy or security breach; (x) our ability to effectively manage or integrate strategic ventures, alliances or acquisitions and realize the anticipated benefits of such transactions; (xi) economic or regulatory developments that might affect our ability to provide attractive promotional financing; (xii) business interruptions and other supply chain issues; (xiii) catastrophic events, political tensions, conflicts and wars (such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine), health crises, and pandemics; (xiv) our ability to maintain positive brand perception and recognition; (xv) product safety and quality concerns; (xvi) changes to labor or employment laws or regulations; (xvii) our ability to effectively manage our real estate portfolio; (xviii) constraints in the capital markets or our vendor credit terms; (xix) changes in our credit ratings; and (xx) the other risks, uncertainties and other factors identified herein under “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The occurrence of any such factors could significantly alter the results set forth in these statements.

We caution that the foregoing list of risks, uncertainties and other factors is not complete, and forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no duty to update publicly any such forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law, regulation or other competent legal authority.

3


 

In addition, statements such as “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 Annual Report on Form 10-K. 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.

Risk Factors Summary

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The following is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our securities speculative or risky, all of which are more fully described below in the section titled “Risk Factors.” This summary should be read in conjunction with the “Risk Factors” section and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing our business. In addition to the following summary, you should consider the information set forth in the “Risk Factors” section and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K before investing in our securities.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate due to the timing of expenses, new pet care center openings, pet care center closures, and other factors.
Pet consumables safety, quality, and health concerns could adversely affect our business.
Failure to attract and retain quality employees and experienced management personnel could adversely affect our performance.
Our results may be adversely affected by serious disruptions or catastrophic events, including public health issues, geopolitical events, and severe weather.

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Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters

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.
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.
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.
We are party to routine litigation arising in the ordinary course of 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 subject to environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations that could result in costs to us.
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.
Our aspirations, goals, and initiatives related to sustainability, and our public statements and disclosures regarding them, expose us to numerous risks.

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.
The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests.
Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in the credit agreements for the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility, 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.
The amount of borrowings permitted under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility may fluctuate significantly, which may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.
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.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our Sponsors have significant influence over us, 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, qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. Accordingly, the holders of our Class A common stock do not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.
We are a holding company with nominal net worth and will depend on dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to pay any dividends.

General Risk Factors

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

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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 Class A common stock price may decline.

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Our Company

Founded in 1965, Petco is a category-defining health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents, and our own Petco partners. Building on more than 55 years of providing solutions for pets and the people who love and care for them, in recent years, we have transformed our business from a successful yet traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully-integrated, omnichannel provider of holistic pet health and wellness offerings, including premium products, services, and veterinary care. As a result, we’ve consistently set new standards in pet care while delivering comprehensive pet wellness products, services, and solutions, and creating communities that deepen the pet-pet parent bond.

Through our integrated ecosystem, we provide our over 25 million total active customers with a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services to fulfill their pets’ health and wellness needs through our more than 1,500 pet care centers in the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico, our digital channel, and our flexible fulfillment options. To further enhance the reach of our product offering and expand our customer base, we’ve implemented partnerships with Lowe’s Companies, Inc. and Canadian Tire Corporation to develop innovative store-in-store concepts at select Lowe’s and Canadian Tire locations that offer a curated assortment of our products.

Additionally, in 2022, we launched our expansion into rural markets with the opening of our first Neighborhood Farm & Pet Supply pet care centers, which serve as one-stop shops for health and wellness solutions for pets and farm animals in rural communities. These brand-new, stand-alone retail locations are strategically and conveniently situated at the heart of rapidly growing communities, providing us with an opportunity to capture significant incremental market share and share of wallet gains. As of January 28, 2023, we had 5 total Neighborhood Farm & Pet Supply pet care centers across Texas, North Carolina, and Kentucky.

Our product offering leverages a broad, carefully curated assortment of owned and exclusive merchandise, providing customers with high quality and health-focused nutrition free from artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies and companion animals. While we offer pet parents a full spectrum of product choices within our high standards of nutrition and quality, our assortment is weighted towards premium products to address ongoing humanization and premiumization trends in the market.

We integrate our product offering with our services business, building on the foundation of treating the whole pet, including their physical, mental and social well-being. Our service offering includes a broad suite of pet health services, including veterinary care, grooming, and training. Leveraging our decade of experience in Vetco mobile clinics, which we operate approximately 1,200 of on a weekly basis, we are growing our network of full service, general practice veterinary hospitals complemented by tele-health, prescription and insurance. As of January 28, 2023, we operated 247 full service veterinary hospitals.

Our multichannel, go-to-market strategy integrates our strong digital assets with our nationwide physical footprint to meet the needs of pet parents who are looking for a single source for all their pet’s needs. Petco.com, our e-commerce site, and the Petco app, our personalized mobile app, together serve as hubs for pet parents to book appointments and manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By leveraging our extensive physical network of 1,430 pet care centers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over much of our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of repeat delivery, buy online and pick up in store (“BOPUS”), curbside pick-up, same day delivery, and ship from store. In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 26,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners in our pet care centers provide important high-quality advice to our customers.

The full value of our health and wellness omnichannel ecosystem is realized for customers through our Vital Care membership program. In January 2023, we unified our over 25 million active customers within a two-tiered offering under Vital Care—Vital Care Core, our free membership tier, and Vital Care Premier, our paid membership tier—to provide for an integrated omnichannel experience. Former members of our Pals Rewards loyalty program, who accounted for over 85% of transactions in fiscal 2022, were transitioned to Vital Care Core, while members of our existing Vital Care program were transitioned to Vital Care Premier, with both tiers retaining the same benefits, and paid members, the same fee. Sitting at the intersection of value and loyalty, Vital Care Premier makes it easier and more affordable for pet parents to care for their pet’s whole health all in one place, and provides pet parents with a seamless connection to our differentiated merchandise and services offerings, while Vital Care Core continues to provide customers with our historic suite of loyalty offerings. Vital Care memberships are the keystone of our

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customer-centric model, serving as a driver of repeat visits and engagement among our customers, and we believe the unification of our loyalty and membership programs will enhance the overall customer experience by allowing us to better view and serve our customers through a singular lens.

Industry Dynamics

The U.S. pet care industry is large and growing, serving millions of households with pets, and represented a total addressable market of approximately $133 billion in 2022. Since 2008, the industry has exhibited steady growth driven by an increase in the underlying pet population coupled with tailwinds associated with trends in pet humanization and a mix-shift towards premiumization. Due to the essential, repeat nature of pet care, the industry has demonstrated resilience and continued growth across economic cycles, as evidenced by the strong industry performance during the Great Recession from 2008 to 2010.

In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pet care industry experienced a significant increase in household pets and therefore demand. Beginning in fiscal 2020, U.S. households welcomed millions of incremental new pets into their homes that will need to be fed, groomed, vaccinated, and treated during their lives. Importantly, the majority of these new pet parents came from Millennial and Gen Z generations, who typically spend more on their pets. With respect to our business, we are strategically focused on growing our presence in three of the fastest-growing areas of the market: veterinary care; e-commerce; and services.

As pet care demand continues to grow, over the long-term we believe we are well-positioned to expand our total addressable market through new offerings, and to capture share of the growing market as a fully-integrated, comprehensive pet care provider. Our owned and exclusive merchandise is unique relative to other large players in the category, driving competitive insulation and focusing on long-term growth categories within the pet industry, like fresh and frozen food, as well as premium nutrition and supplies more broadly.

The services categories we participate in within the U.S. are highly fragmented. As consumer expectations around customer experience, convenience, and technology evolve, we believe that we have a competitive advantage versus our competition given the integrated digital experience that we provide our customers, including online booking and customized care reminders, as well as our value offerings like Vital Care Premier.

We believe that we have built competitive advantages through the breadth and depth of assortment of premium health and wellness products, owned brands, services, and veterinary care that we offer across an integrated omnichannel platform, though we do compete with various peers in individual categories, including both large and small pet specialty retailers, e-commerce retailers, and mass and grocery retailers.

Our Transformation

Our transformation over the past five years into the health and wellness company for pets and pet parents has been driven by the relentless execution of our team of channel and category experts with best-in-class experience from Fortune 100 companies, combined with deep experience in retail led by our CEO and Chairman, Ron Coughlin. Our highly qualified leadership team has implemented significant operational and cultural changes in our business, including a substantial acceleration of our digital capabilities, optimizing the effectiveness of pet care center partners through training, enhanced analytics tools and communications, step changing marketing and customer engagement return on investment, launching an owned veterinary hospital network, and scaling our pet health and wellness offerings. Specifically, we have:

Built Leading Omnichannel Capabilities that Leverage our Physical Network. Following decades of the rise of mega retailers and digital migration, we’ve entered a new era of retail, with consumers seeking fully integrated physical retail and omnichannel digital offerings, brought together with sticky services and enhanced by continuous innovation and an exceptional customer experience. Through that lens, 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. Our transformation was catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic as pet parents became increasingly comfortable with digital interaction, coupled with a tangible return of retail traffic in 2021 as consumers demonstrated that physical interaction was a critical way in which they want to interact with their retailer too.

Through strategic investments, we’ve rebuilt our digital experience from the ground up beginning with relaunching our e-commerce platform and building an app to integrate with our ecosystem. We invested in improving the speed, navigation, personalization, and services access of our website and app to drive traffic and engagement. We focused on optimizing site merchandising, dynamic pricing capabilities, and leveraging advanced analytics and precision marketing to drive customer acquisition, monetization, and retention.

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Further differentiating our business and creating scale advantages, we leverage our physical footprint of pet care centers as micro-distribution centers for our digital orders, including BOPUS, curbside pickup, same day delivery, and ship from store. Nearly all of our 1,430 pet care centers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico offer grooming and training services, in addition to our 247 full-service veterinary hospitals and the approximately 1,200 Vetco mobile clinics operated at our pet care centers on a weekly basis. We also operate 120 locations in Mexico through our joint venture with Grupo Gigante.

 

Launched a Full-Service Veterinary Hospital Network, and Reinvented Grooming and Training. Pet services represent the most personalized, sticky, high-touch part of the pet market. In addition to acting as a profitable driver of new customer acquisition, we believe our differentiated service platform helps strengthen our position by promoting customer retention, driving physical visit frequency and digital engagement, increasing share of wallet, and building long-term loyalty.

 

In veterinary services, we are creating a new paradigm in the industry with integrated owned hospitals under the Vetco Total Care brand. In fiscal 2017, we embarked on one of the fastest veterinary hospital build-outs in the industry to address the growing need for high quality, accessible pet healthcare consistent with our mission to improve the lives of pets and pet parents. In March 2022, we announced our acquisition of Thrive Pet Healthcare’s 50% stake in our pet hospital joint venture (the “Acquisition”), which subsequently closed in the second quarter of 2022. The Acquisition resulted in the transition of nearly 100 locations to our Vetco Total Care hospital brand, as well as the welcoming of over 750 veterinary care professionals to our network of approximately 29,000 partners. As of the end of fiscal 2022, we operated a total of 247 full-service veterinary care hospitals, inclusive of the hospitals acquired as part of the Acquisition. By integrating these veterinary hospitals into existing pet care centers, we benefit from significant structural advantages compared to stand-alone veterinary care providers, including lower cost of acquisition and additional basket opportunities, driving both incremental service and merchandise sales, and further unlocking the large and growing prescription food and drug total addressable market. In parallel with our hospital unit growth, we’ve made considerable investments in our veterinarian value proposition, both with enhanced total rewards programs as well unique scheduling opportunities that offer the flexibility to practice autonomous medicine both in hospitals and in our mobile clinics. We believe this veterinary model enhances customer lifetime value, drives retention, attracts talent, and delivers long-term value to our stakeholders.

In grooming, we have invested in digital integration, marketing, staff compensation, and other operational improvements, which have resulted in the acquisition of new customers, continued strong sales, and an increase in both groomer hires and retention. In training, we have led with innovation, and in fiscal 2021 we launched online training classes that can be conducted at home.

Created a Highly Differentiated Owned and Exclusive Product Offering. We offer a highly differentiated owned and exclusive product assortment that engenders strong customer loyalty and repeat purchasing. We have 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 JustFoodForDogs, with whom we expanded our partnership with in March 2022 and created an exclusive owned brand WholeHearted line of frozen meals.

In 2019, we leveraged our established owned brand platform and capabilities to launch Reddy, a fashion-driven supplies brand, to complement WholeHearted, our owned food brand. In fiscal 2022, we generated approximately 27% of our product sales from owned brands—such as WholeHearted, Reddy, and Well & Good. This not only enhances our merchandise mix, but also helps the Petco ecosystem attract and retain customers, and offers an enhanced margin profile. The combination of our food and supplies strategy, including owned and exclusive brands, has enabled us to offer a differentiated assortment of products, many of which are not available via online, mass, or grocery competitors.

Implemented a Performance Culture Led by Data Analytics. Our singular view of the customer across products and services channels, in combination with insights from our Vital Care membership program, online purchasing, surveys, and third party data, provides us with access to some of the richest data in the pet category. By investing in talent and data analytics capabilities, over the past three years we’ve turned analytics and data science into a competitive advantage, including advanced capabilities in dynamic pricing, inventory optimization,

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merchandising, personalization, and precision marketing. With the tools to capture purchase, search, and services utilization, as well as customer and pet demographics and preferences, we generate a 360-degree view of customer that serves as the foundation of our data ecosystem.

To enhance decision-making, we implemented new capabilities to leverage this data in our pet care centers, making it available in near real time for our pet care center general managers and field leadership teams through advanced sales reporting. We developed a user-friendly, action-focused dashboard, which enables our managers to track performance across multiple dimensions, identify opportunities, and execute strategies to drive incremental sales. We also simplified the key metrics that we utilize to track performance and align incentives against those metrics by rolling out a revamped incentive structure across our field organization.

Marketing and Advertising

Over the last three years, we have significantly elevated our marketing and media strategy, establishing ourselves as a health and wellness leader in the pet category. This repositioning started with bold commitments to pet health and wellness, from eliminating certain food and treats with artificial ingredients, and the removal of human-operated and bark-activated shock collars and traditional rawhide products from our shelves, to becoming the first national pet retailer to be certified by American Humane. Underpinning our differentiated positioning is our precision marketing engine, which starts with applying advanced analytics and data science to our rich first party data. We then deliver personalized messages to the highest value customers, enabling us to drive customer acquisition, monetization, and retention across our ecosystem.

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

Human Capital

Our Partners

Our employees, who we call Petco partners, are our most significant assets, critical to the delivery of our transformation and our continued progress. As of January 28, 2023, we had approximately 29,000 total partners. Our over 26,000 pet care center partners offer a level of customer engagement and content that is differentiated in retail and based on a true passion for pets. Our partners are primarily employed on an at-will basis and are compensated through base salary and incentive programs. We strive for our partners to grow and develop in their careers, and offer competitive compensation and benefits programs, incentive compensation, and a range of health and wellness offerings. None of our partners are represented by labor unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We consider our relationship with our partners to be good.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our employees are our partners and we strive to create an environment that embraces diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Our commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment is key to our mission of improving the lives of pets, pet parents, and the Petco partners who work for us. This commitment begins at the top, where our CEO sets annual people goals related to achieving long term workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes. Progress on our people goals is tracked and reviewed regularly with our executive team and our board of directors, and serves as a component of our CEO’s compensation. We are committed to creating a culture where partners feel as if they can achieve their career goals through ongoing growth and development opportunities, and fair and transparent performance management and promotion processes. So that our partners feel valued and heard, we gather and respond to our partners’ feedback, including, but not limited to, anonymous, periodic, formal, partner engagement surveys, round table sessions, and one-on-one interactions. Based on the feedback received, leaders review and create action plans in an effort to drive meaningful changes in our business. In addition, all Petco leaders participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion training aimed at building respect in the workplace.

 

Partner Communities

 

We believe that building and supporting connections between our partners and our communities creates a more fulfilling and enjoyable workplace experience. We have continued to expand our partner resource groups, which enable partners to build connections among themselves and their communities, as well as our diversity, inclusion

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and belonging programs to encourage partners to bring their “whole selves” to work. Petco currently has seven Partner Resource Groups that are foundational to our culture of inclusion and belonging. Our current partner-led Partner Resource Groups are: Ability at Petco; Black at Petco; LGBTQ+ at Petco; Pan Asian American at Petco; Petcontigo (Latinx) at Petco; Military and Veterans at Petco; and Women at Petco. In partnership with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, these seven groups facilitate engagement activities to increase cultural competencies, educate partners on issues facing affinity group members, and deepen our workplace connections.

Health and Safety

The health, safety, and overall well-being of our partners is a top priority. We are focused on protecting and supporting our partners, as well as the people and pets in our pet care centers and the communities we serve. The Petco Partner Assistance Fund has provided over $2 million in financial support to nearly 2,000 Petco partners who suffered a hardship, including related to COVID-19, severe weather events, and natural disasters.

Compensation and Benefits

We provide competitive compensation and benefits programs to help meet the needs of our partners and their families. In addition to base cash compensation, we offer our partners a mix of annual bonuses, restricted stock units, various incentive plans, an Employee Stock Purchase Plan, a 401(k) Plan, healthcare and insurance benefits, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, and a range of employee assistance programs. Partners have experienced no increase in their healthcare benefit premiums since 2020, and investments in fertility care, medical travel, and mental health benefits were announced in 2022. In addition, we offer a range of webinars, trainings, and subscriptions to support our partners’ total wellbeing. Finally, in 2022, we announced that every non-trainee partner at Petco will be paid a base wage of at least $15 an hour. This change, along with other adjustments, resulted in approximately 15% average wage increases for our pet care center partners.

Talent Development

We invest significant resources to attract, develop, and retain top talent. In recent years, we have streamlined methods for setting executional priorities, provided comprehensive sales training, and developed store-level sales marketing capabilities. In fiscal 2022, we are proud to have provided more than 400,000 hours of training across our pet care center partners. In addition, nearly 50% of open General Manager and District General Managers positions were filled with internal promotions.

 

Distribution

We currently have seven primary and two regional distribution centers in our network, which are located in various parts of the United States, that handle almost all distribution for our company. Our ship-from-store, BOPUS, and curbside programs enhance our distribution network, affording us the opportunity to utilize our pet care centers as micro-distribution centers to more quickly and cost effectively serve our customers with a last-mile advantage. During fiscal 2022, 74% of our digital orders (including BOPUS, same day delivery, and ship-from-store) were fulfilled by pet care centers.

The majority of relationships we have with third-party domestic transportation and logistics providers are governed by non-exclusive agreements that do not obligate us to minimum volume or fees, and such agreements may generally be terminated by either party on 45 days’ prior written notice.

Vendor Arrangements

In fiscal 2022, we purchased merchandise from approximately 640 vendors. Our top 10 vendors represented approximately 40% of our annual sales, and no single vendor accounted for more than 8% of our sales. In addition, 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 materially rely on third-party distributors to conduct our business. We onboard our vendors using a standardized process to confirm their adherence to our applicable standards, policies, and procedures, including those relating to legal compliance, human rights, 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 instead allow us to terminate the relationship for convenience at any time upon written notice to the vendor. Our vendors

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generally may terminate the relationship on 90-days’ written notice but are obligated to fulfill or perform any purchase order accepted prior to such notice.

Petco Love

Petco Love, formerly the Petco Foundation, is a nonprofit organization changing lives by making communities and pet families healthier, stronger, and closer. It is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported both by contributions from us and contributions from Petco customers and community partners. Since its founding in 1999, Petco Love has inspired and empowered animal welfare organizations to make a difference, investing more than $346 million in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through the Think Adoption First program, Petco Love partners with our pet care centers and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions, helping nearly 7 million pets to date find their new loving families.

In April 2021, Petco Love launched Petco Love Lost, a searchable database that uses facial recognition technology to help reunite lost pets with their families should they ever go missing. To date, nearly 2,500 animal welfare organizations and pet industry partners across the U.S. have adopted the platform, and Petco Love Lost has helped return over 17,000 pets to their loving homes.

Launched in August 2021, Petco Love’s Vaccinated and Loved initiative marked a significant milestone when it reached its one millionth free pet vaccine distribution in September 2022, and subsequently committed to distributing another one million free pet vaccines. Since that milestone, Petco Love has distributed an additional 430,000 free pet vaccines to its partners, bringing the total number of free pet vaccines distributed as part of its Vaccinated and Loved initiative to more than 1.3 million to date. Distributing these much-needed vaccinations in under-resourced communities is something Petco Love believes gives all pets the best chance to live long and healthy lives.

Our Trademarks and Other Intellectual Property

We believe that our rights in our intellectual property, including trademarks and domain names, as well as contractual provisions and restrictions on access to our proprietary technology, are important to our marketing efforts to develop brand recognition and differentiate our brand from our competitors. We own a number of trademarks that have been registered, or for which registration applications are pending, in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions. These trademarks include Bond & Co., EveryYay, Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, Petco Love, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, You & Me, Youly, Vital Care Core, and Vital Care Premier. The current registrations of these trademarks are effective for varying periods of time and may be renewed periodically, provided that we, as the registered owner, or our licensees where applicable, comply with all applicable renewal requirements including, where necessary, the continued use of the trademarks in connection with similar goods. We expect to pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe they would be beneficial and cost-effective.

In addition to trademark protection, we own numerous domain names, including petco.com. We also enter into, and rely on, confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements with our employees, consultants, contractors, and business partners to protect our trade secrets, proprietary technology, and other confidential information. We further control the use of our proprietary technology and intellectual property through provisions in both our customer terms of use on our website and in our vendor terms and conditions.

Government Regulation

We are subject to a broad range of federal, state, local, and foreign laws and regulations intended to protect public health, natural resources, and the environment. Our operations, including our owned brand manufacturing outsourcing partners, are subject to regulation 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”), and by various other federal, state, local, and foreign authorities regarding the processing, packaging, storage, distribution, advertising, labeling, and import of our products, including food safety standards. For more information, please read “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters—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

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such laws and regulations may result in enforcements, recalls, and other adverse actions that could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our financial results.”

The FDA regulates animal feed, including pet food, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, (the “FFDCA”), and its implementing regulations. Although pet foods are not required to obtain premarket approval from the FDA, the FFDCA requires that all animal foods are safe for consumption, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and are truthfully labeled. Most states also require that pet foods distributed in the state be registered or licensed with the appropriate state regulatory agency. In addition, most facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods, including pet foods, must register with the FDA and renew their registration every two years, and are subject to periodic FDA inspection. This includes most foreign, as well as domestic facilities. Registration must occur before the facility begins its pet food manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding operations.

The labeling of pet foods is regulated by both the FDA and some state regulatory authorities. FDA regulations require proper identification of the product, a net quantity statement, a statement of the name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor, and proper listing of all the ingredients in order of predominance by weight. Most states also enforce their own labeling regulations, many of which are based on model definitions and guidelines developed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (the “AAFCO”). AAFCO is a voluntary, non-governmental membership association of local, state, and federal agencies that are charged with regulation of the sale and distribution of animal feed, including pet foods. The degree of oversight of the implementation of these regulations varies by state, but typically includes a state review and approval of each product label as a condition of sale in that state.

The FDA also 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 regarding products that provide nutrients in support of an animal’s daily nutrient needs but which are also labeled as being intended for use to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease, thereby meeting the statutory definitions of both a food and a drug.

Under Section 423 of the FFDCA, the FDA may require the recall of an animal feed product if there is a reasonable probability that the product is adulterated or misbranded and the use of or exposure to the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. In addition, pet food manufacturers may voluntarily recall or withdraw their products from the market.

Certain states have laws, rules, and regulations that require that veterinary medical practices be either wholly owned or majority owned by licensed veterinarians and that corporations that are not wholly owned or majority 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. In these states and jurisdictions, we provide management and other administrative services to veterinary practices rather than owning such practices or directly employing the veterinarians providing medical care. Although we believe that we have structured our operations to comply with our understanding of the veterinary medicine laws of each state and jurisdiction in which we operate, interpretive legal precedent and regulatory guidance varies by jurisdiction and is often sparse and not fully developed.

In addition, all of the states in which we operate impose various registration permit and/or licensing requirements. To fulfill these requirements, we have registered each of our facilities with appropriate governmental agencies and, where required, have appointed a licensed veterinarian to act on behalf of each facility. All veterinarians practicing in our animal wellness centers are required to maintain valid state licenses to practice and veterinarians practicing in our full-service hospitals are required to maintain valid licenses with the DEA. We are also required to comply with state laws governing the dispensing of prescription pet medications by our veterinarians. Additionally, our pet insurance plans must be registered with certain state departments of insurance and comply with their requirements.

Available Information

Our website address is petco.com, and our investor relations website is ir.petco.com. We promptly make available on our investor relations website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the U.S. Securities

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and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and Principles of Corporate Governance) and select press releases. We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy and information statements and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a), 14, and 15(d) of the Exchange Act. The SEC maintains a website at sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding Petco and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Investing in our securities 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K. 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 “Risk Factors Summary,” which immediately precedes Part I, Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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, inflation, the availability of discretionary income and credit, weather, consumer confidence, and unemployment levels. We have experienced, and could continue to experience, declines in sales of certain products and changes in the types of products and services purchased 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. For instance, a decline in the amount of discretionary consumer spending due in part to persistent inflation has negatively impacted sales of discretionary items, which has had, and could continue to have, an adverse affect on our profitability.

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. Specifically, though we’ve experienced significant growth in sales of non-discretionary consumables, spending on non-discretionary items has declined due in part to persistent inflation, which has adversely impacted our profitability. 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. Additionally, the development and introduction of innovative new products and services and expansion into new offerings involves considerable costs. Any new product, service, or offering may not generate sufficient customer interest and sales to become profitable or to cover the costs of its development and promotion and, as a result, may adversely impact our results of operations, including our profitability. Concern about sustainability and climate change might cause consumer preferences to switch away from products or ingredients considered to have high climate change impact and towards products that are more sustainably grown and made, and

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we may incur additional costs as we potentially evolve our portfolio and engage in due diligence, verification, and reporting in connection with our environmental, social, and governance and sustainability initiatives.

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.

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 (even if based on rumor or misunderstanding) 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 and retention 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 and service 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 have been facing greater competition from national, regional, local, and online retailers. In particular, major competitors have sought to gain or retain market share by reducing prices or by introducing additional products or services, which may require us to reduce prices on our key products or services or introduce new offerings in order to remain competitive, and 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, omnichannel capabilities, 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, among other things, 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

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brand portfolio, growing our brick and mortar footprint in rural communities, 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;
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 personnel, including veterinarians, information technology professionals, owned brand merchants, and groomers and trainers;
our acceptance in new markets, as well as our ability to withstand competition in such markets; 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 significantly 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 have experienced shortages of skilled veterinarians in markets in which we operate our veterinary service businesses, which has required 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, and expect to continue to make, 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, they could have an adverse effect on our business.

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Additionally, customer expectations about the methods by which they purchase and receive products or services are also becoming more demanding. Customers routinely use technology and a variety of electronic devices and digital platforms to rapidly compare products and prices, read product reviews, determine real-time product availability, and purchase products. Once products are purchased, customers are seeking alternate options for delivery of those products, and they often expect quick, timely, and low-price or free delivery and/or convenient pickup options. We must continually anticipate and adapt to these changes in the purchasing process.

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 buy online and pick up in store, curbside pickup, and 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, including offering competitive pricing for our products, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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 First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility 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 executive officers, we may not be able to run our business effectively.

We are dependent upon the efforts of our key personnel, including our executive officers. The loss of any of our key personnel could affect our ability to run our business effectively. Our success will depend on our ability to retain our current management and to develop, attract, and retain qualified personnel in the future. Competition for senior management personnel is intense with increasingly aggressive compensation packages, and we cannot assure you that we can retain our key personnel or that our succession planning will prove effective. Furthermore, declines in our stock price have been reducing the retention value of our share-based awards, which could impact the competitiveness of our compensation over time. The loss of a member of senior management requires the remaining executive officers and our board of directors to divert immediate and substantial attention to seeking a replacement. The inability to fill vacancies in our key personnel positions, including 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, could 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 business. As a result of the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, as well as surges in consumer demand for certain products, shortages of raw materials and disruptions to the global supply chain resulting from, among other things, lack of carrier capacity, labor shortages, port congestion and /or closures, and rising fuel prices, some of our existing vendors have not been able to supply us with products in a timely or

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cost-effective manner. 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 generally do not maintain long-term supply contracts with our merchandise vendors. Thus, most vendors 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 or owned brand pet food, or pet supplies that we offer could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. For more information regarding our vendors, please read “Business—Vendor Arrangements.”

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.

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 certain circumstances, 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, 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, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reduced operations in many of our pet care centers in fiscal 2020, which decreased our pet care center revenues. 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. Health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks may 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.

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 severe 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

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significantly higher freight costs. Further, increased transportation costs, including increased fuel costs, have resulted in, and are expected to continue to result in, higher 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, and could continue to face, labor shortages at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 and related issues such as vaccine mandates, as well as other factors, 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, labor shortages, or regulatory issues with respect to any of our distribution centers, could adversely affect our sales and results of operations. Interruptions in our inventory supply chain have resulted in certain out-of-stock or excess merchandise inventory levels, and could adversely affect our ability to make timely deliveries to e-commerce customers, as well as our sales 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 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, successfully integrating personnel, 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. Furthermore, acquired entities may have differing or inadequate controls, procedures, or policies, including those related to financial reporting, disclosure, and cyber and information security, which could expose us to additional risks and potentially increase anticipated costs or time to integrate the business. 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.

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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, and to comply with public health requirements. 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.

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 cannot 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 or account information, 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 or phishing 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 breaches 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, each of 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, may not apply to the circumstances relating to any particular loss, or may become materially more costly.

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 (as modified by the CPRA) “reasonable security” requirement in light of the private right 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 Payment Card Industry (“PCI”) Data Security Standard (“PCI DSS”). 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 DSS, as well as significant unanticipated expenses. Any unauthorized access into our customers’ or employees’ 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’ or employees’ 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 or those of our vendors 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 and those of our vendors. 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 and online. The failure of our

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information systems or those of our vendors to perform as designed, the loss of data, or any interruption of our information systems or those of our vendors 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 and those of our vendors are vulnerable to damage from fire, floods, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, terrorist and cyber-attacks, and similar events. Our disaster recovery planning and those of our vendors 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 or handling of animals by them, do not provide the proper level of care. Our efforts to establish our reputation as a health and wellness company increase 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.

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 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

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the risk that a health epidemic, pandemic or similar outbreak, or natural disaster or extreme weather event causes disruptions 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, 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. There continues to be uncertainty regarding the future of international trade agreements and ultimately the United States’ position on international trade. For example, the U.S. government has previously 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. In addition, the U.S. government has previously issued sanctions on Chinese companies, raised tariffs, and imposed new tariffs on a wide range of imports of Chinese products. Additional trade restrictions, including sanctions, tariffs, quotas, embargoes, safeguards, border shutdowns, 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 or raise prices, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of 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 of 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, cost, and inflationary pressures;
changes in fuel prices or electrical rates;
costs related to acquisitions of businesses; and
general economic factors.

Pet consumables 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 consumable pet 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 consumables 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.

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Restrictions imposed in reaction to outbreaks of animal diseases or health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 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 prices 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 variants 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.

Fluctuations in the prices and availability of certain commodities, such as 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 prices and 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 that are used in the production of certain pet accessories. Additionally, increased human and/or pet consumption or population increases may potentially limit the supply of or increase prices for certain meat proteins, many of which are used in animal feed. Throughout 2022, costs of certain commodities increased significantly due to supply chain disruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic, increased fuel prices, increased demand, transportation and labor shortages, and general inflationary pressures, and we have resultingly observed increases in the costs we pay for certain vendor-supplied products. To help mitigate the impact of these cost increases, we have implemented select price increases, which is consistent with our historical practice and in the aggregate have not impacted our salves volume to date. However, our ability to continue to pass on increased purchase costs in the future will be significantly impacted by market conditions and competitive factors. If we are unable to continue to pass on any increased purchase costs to customers, we would experience decreased demand for or products and services and reduced margins, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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

We lease 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 commercial area 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 commercial areas 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 could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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

Our performance depends on recruiting, developing, training, and retaining top talent in our support centers, partners who are capable sales associates in large numbers in our pet care centers, 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, inflationary pressures, the availability of qualified persons in the markets where we operate, changing demographics, behavioral changes, health and other insurance costs, and governmental labor and employment requirements. We have faced, and could continue to face, labor shortages at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 and related issues such as vaccine mandates, as well as other factors, which has adversely affected our operations. We have also faced, and could continue to face, increased wage competition and costs across our business in recruiting and retaining top talent. Recently, various legislative movements have sought to increase the federal minimum wage in the United States and the minimum wage in a number of individual states, some of which have been successful at the state level. As federal or state minimum wage rates increase, we may need to increase not only the wage rates of our minimum wage partners but also the wages paid to our other hourly partners. If we fail to increase our wages competitively, we could fail to recruit and retain top talent and face labor shortages or staffing issues, and the quality of our workforce could decline, causing our customer service to suffer, while increasing our wages could cause our earnings to decrease. Moreover, failure to achieve and maintain a diverse workforce and leadership team, maintain a safe and inclusive environment or promote the well-being of our employees could affect our reputation and also result in lower performance and an inability to retain valuable employees. 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. We have experienced an attempted union organizing campaign, and may continue to experience union organizing campaigns, which can be disruptive to our operations, increase our labor costs and decrease our operational flexibility. 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. In addition, organized labor may benefit from new legislation or legal interpretations by the current presidential administration, as well as current or future unionization efforts among other large employers. Particularly, in light of current support for changes to federal and state labor laws, we cannot provide any assurance that we will not experience additional and/or successful union organization activity in the future. Any labor disruptions could have an adverse effect on our business or results of operations and could cause us to lose customers. Further, our responses to any union organizing efforts could negatively impact our reputation and have adverse effects on our business, including on our financial results.

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 coverage for potential liabilities for workers’ compensation, general liability, business interruption, property damage, directors’ and officers’ liability, vehicle liability, cybersecurity incidents, and employee health-care benefits. Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient, and any insurance proceeds may not be timely paid to us. Moreover, as insurance premiums continue to increase, we cannot be certain that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all. 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.

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

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discouraging pet owners from purchasing from us, our sales could decrease and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

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

Geopolitical events, such as war or civil unrest in a country in which our vendors are located or dependent upon, 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 severe weather and climate conditions (including those resulting from climate change), 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, severely damage or destroy one or more of our pet care centers or distribution centers located in the affected areas, result in temporary or long-term supply chain disruptions or cause increased transportation costs (whether due to fuel prices, fuel supply, or otherwise). For example, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted, and could continue to result, in volatile commodity markets, supply chain disruptions, and increased costs for transportation, energy, packaging and raw materials and other input costs. As a result of any such events, 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 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.

A potential result of climate change is more frequent or more severe weather events or natural disasters. To the extent such weather events or natural disasters do become more frequent or severe, disruptions to our business, including store closures, and our vendors and costs to repair damaged facilities or maintain or resume operations could increase. The long-term impacts of climate change, whether involving physical risks (such as extreme weather conditions or rising sea levels) or transition risks (such as regulatory or technology changes or increased operating costs, including the cost of insurance) are expected to be widespread and unpredictable. These changes over time could also affect, for example, the availability and cost of certain products, insurance, commodities and energy (including utilities), which in turn may impact our ability to procure those certain goods or services required for the operation of our business at the quantities and levels we require or on otherwise commercially reasonable terms.

 

Inflation has adversely impacted, and is expected to continue to adversely impact, our financial condition and results of operations.

Inflation in the United States remained elevated throughout fiscal 2022. This is primarily believed to be the result of a multitude of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain disruptions, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the impact on transportation costs (including increased fuel costs), increased labor costs, spending of excess savings, elevated demand for goods, and government stimulus packages, among other factors. For instance, global supply chain disruptions have resulted in shortages in certain materials and services. Such shortages have resulted in inflationary cost increases for labor and such materials and services, and could continue to cause costs to increase as well as scarcity of certain products. We are experiencing inflationary pressures in certain areas of our business, including with respect to employee wages and the cost of merchandise, although, to date, we have largely been able to mitigate such pressures through price increases and other measures. We cannot, however, predict any future trends in the rate of inflation or associated increases in our operating costs and how that may impact our business. To the extent we are unable to recover higher operating costs resulting from inflation or otherwise mitigate the impact of such costs on our business, our revenues and gross margins could decrease, and our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

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Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters

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 those of some of our vendors, are subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations established by the OSHA, the FDA, the USDA, the DEA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EEOC, 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; 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 have been, and may again the future be, subject to a wide range of state and local regulations relating to COVID-19, which frequently changed. For more information regarding laws and regulations that we are subject to, please 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 product 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 the 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 and other governmental authorities.

Currently, many states in the United States have adopted the AAFCO’s 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 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 any veterinary services we provide. 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.

 

Regulation of the sale of pet insurance is subject to change, and future regulations could harm our business, operating results, and financial condition.
O
ur business operates in the pet insurance market. The laws and regulations governing the offer, sale, and purchase of pet insurance are subject to change, and future changes may be adverse to our business. For example, if a jurisdiction were to alter the requirements for obtaining or maintaining an agent’s license in connection with the enrollment of a member, it could have a material adverse effect on our operations. Some states in the U.S. have adopted, and others are expected to adopt, new laws and regulations related to the pet insurance industry. It is difficult to predict how these or any other new laws and regulations will impact our business, but, in some cases, changes in insurance laws, regulations, and guidelines may require that we make significant modifications to our practices, which may be costly and difficult to implement, could harm our ability to effectively grow our pet insurance offerings, and could also harm business, operating results and financial condition.

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We are subject to risks related to online payment methods and our Petco Pay promotional financing program.

We currently accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit cards, debit cards, Paypal, Klarna, 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 PCI DSS, which 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. Additionally, 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.

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.

We also occasionally receive orders placed with fraudulent data. Although we have measures in place to detect and reduce the occurrence of such fraudulent activity, those measures are not always effective, and we have incurred, and could in the future incur, losses for such fraudulent transactions, which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We offer promotional financing and credit cards issued by third-party banks that manage and directly extend credit to our customers through our Petco Pay program. Customers using Petco Pay can earn rewards for making purchases on the Petco-branded credit cards or receive extended payment terms and low interest financing on qualifying purchases. Petco Pay has generated incremental revenue from customers who prefer the financing terms to other available forms of payment or otherwise need access to financing in order to make purchases. In addition, we earn profit share income and share in any losses from certain of our banking partners based on the performance of the programs. The income or loss we earn in this regard is subject to numerous factors, including the volume and value of transactions, the terms of promotional financing offers, bad debt rates, interest rates, the macroeconomic, regulatory and competitive environment, and expenses of operating the program. Adverse changes to any of these factors could impair our ability to offer Petco Pay to customers, reduce customer purchases, or impair our ability to earn income from sharing in the profits of the program.

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 personal information provided to us through online activities and other consumer, employee, and business-to-business interactions in order to provide a better experience for our customers, employees, and vendors. Our current and future marketing programs depend on our ability to collect, maintain, use, and share this personal information with service providers and other third-party vendors, 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

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governmental entities or others. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of this area of the law, we have seen an increase in claims filed against us and others by plaintiffs alleging violations of various data privacy laws. Although we believe many such proceedings are filed without merit, and no such proceeding filed against us has subjected us to material liability to date, 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, as well as advertise certain employment opportunities, is through the use of third-party “cookies” and similar online tracking technologies. 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 (such as pixels, tags, and beacons) for behavioral advertising and other purposes. The U.S. government and various states have enacted, have considered, or are considering legislation or regulations that 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. In addition, private litigants may claim the use of these tracking technologies invades their privacy, violates privacy or other laws, or constitutes an unfair business practice. 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, including for recruiting purposes. The regulation of the use of these cookies and other current online tracking, recruiting, 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/or recruitment, and limit our ability to acquire new customers and/or staff 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 gave California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain uses 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 provided for civil penalties for violations enforced by the California Attorney General, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that has resulted in an increase data breach litigation. Further, on November 3, 2020, the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”) was voted into law by California residents and went into effect on January 1, 2023. 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 created the California Privacy Protection Agency, a new data protection agency specifically tasked to issue privacy regulations and enforce the law, which is likely to result in increased regulatory scrutiny of California businesses in the areas of data protection and security. In particular, the California Privacy Protection Agency is currently engaged in formal rulemaking to adopt regulations implementing the CPRA. 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 passed in several other states, and have been proposed in additional states and at the federal level. 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 these 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.

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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 and job candidates. The actual or perceived improper sending of text messages may subject us to potential risks, including liabilities or claims relating to consumer protection laws. 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. 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. 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, resulting 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, or could face negative publicity, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected as a result. 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.

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 decreased sales or 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.

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., EveryYay, Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, Petco Love, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, You & Me, Youly, Vital Care Core, and Vital Care Premier, are valuable assets that support

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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 violations 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, systems, applications, or marketing materials infringe the proprietary rights of third parties, regardless of their merit or resolution, could be costly to investigate, defend and/or settle, result in injunctions against us or payment of damages or licensing fees 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.

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

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, claims from customers or employees alleging failure to maintain safe premises, 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.

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 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.

Continuing political and social attention to the issue of climate change has resulted in both existing and pending international agreements and national, regional, or local legislation and regulatory measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions, such as cap and trade regimes, carbon taxes, restrictive permitting, increased fuel efficiency standards, and incentives or mandates for renewable energy, as well as legal and regulatory requirements requiring certain climate-related disclosures, and pressure from shareholders, ratings agencies, and other third parties to make various climate-related disclosures. Such measures have subjected us, and may subject our vendors, to additional costs and restrictions and require significant operating and capital expenditures, including with respect to waste and energy reduction, compliance costs, and workforce initiatives, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

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, fines, or suspensions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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

 

As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), 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 has increased our legal and financial compliance costs and makes some activities more difficult, time-consuming, and/or costly. For example, the Exchange Act requires us, among other things, to

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file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. Being subject to rules and regulations applicable to public companies makes 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 impose significant additional costs on us and require a significant amount of our management’s attention, and could affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.

 

Our aspirations, goals, and initiatives related to sustainability, and our public statements and disclosures regarding them, expose us to numerous risks.

We have developed, and will continue to establish, goals, targets, and other objectives related to sustainability matters. These statements reflect our current plans and do not constitute a guarantee that they will be achieved. Our efforts to research, establish, accomplish, and accurately report on these goals, targets, and objectives expose us to numerous operational, reputational, financial, legal, and other risks. Our ability to achieve any stated goal, target, or objective is subject to numerous factors and conditions, many of which are outside of our control. Examples of such factors include evolving regulatory requirements affecting sustainability standards or disclosures or imposing different requirements, evolving disclosure standards and/or policies established by regulators and standards organizations, stockholders, ratings agencies, and proxy advisory firms, the pace of changes in technology, the availability of requisite financing, and the availability of suppliers that can meet our sustainability and other standards. Furthermore, methodologies for reporting sustainability information may be updated and previously reported information may be adjusted to reflect improvement in the availability and quality of third-party data, changing assumptions, changes in the nature and scope of our operations, and other changes in circumstances. Our processes and controls for reporting sustainability information across our operations are evolving along with multiple disparate standards for identifying, measuring, and reporting sustainability metrics, including sustainability-related disclosures that may be required by the SEC and other regulators, and such standards may change over time, which could result in significant revisions to our current goals or reported progress in achieving such goals, or adversely impact our ability to achieve such goals in the future.

Our business may face increased scrutiny from the investment community, other stakeholders, and the media related to our sustainability activities, including the goals, targets, and objectives that we announce, and our methodologies and timelines for pursuing them. If our sustainability practices do not meet investor or other stakeholder expectations and standards, which continue to evolve, our reputation, our ability to attract or retain employees and customers, and our attractiveness as an investment, business partner, or as an acquiror could be negatively impacted. Similarly, our failure or perceived failure to pursue or fulfill our goals, targets, and objectives, to comply with ethical, environmental, or other standards, regulations, or expectations, or to satisfy various reporting standards with respect to these matters, within the timelines we announce, or at all, could have the same negative impacts, as well as expose us to government enforcement actions and private litigation. Furthermore, positions we take or do not take on social issues may be unpopular with some of our customers, partners, advocacy groups, or other stakeholders in the communities in which we operate, which may lead to adverse effects on our business. Even if we achieve our goals, targets, and objectives, we may not realize all of the benefits that we expected at the time they were established.

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.

At January 28, 2023, we had outstanding a (i) $1,700 million secured term loan facility maturing on March 4, 2028 (the “First Lien Term Loan”) and (ii) secured asset-based revolving credit facility providing for senior secured financing of up to $500 million, subject to a borrowing base, maturing on March 4, 2026 (the “ABL Revolving Credit Facility”). Our substantial indebtedness 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;

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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 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for descriptions of the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility.

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

The First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility both 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;
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 ABL 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 we will satisfy them.

Any failure to comply with the restrictions of the First Lien Term Loan, ABL 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 First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility allow us and our subsidiaries to incur additional indebtedness, subject to limitations. As of January 28, 2023, we and our subsidiaries had an additional

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$443.9 million of unused commitments available to be borrowed under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility. This amount is net of $56.1 million of outstanding letters of credit issued in the normal course of business and no borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets. 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 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, depends on our ability to generate or access cash in the future. This ability is subject to general economic, financial (including prevailing interest rates), 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 ABL Revolving Credit 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 First Lien Term Loan and the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in the credit agreements for the First Lien Term Loan and the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, 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 First Lien Term Loan, the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, 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 ABL 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 ABL 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 ABL 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 ABL 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 has caused, and may continue to cause, our indebtedness service obligations to increase significantly.

Borrowings under the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. Due to interest rate increases in fiscal 2022, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness have increased even though the amount borrowed remains the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, have correspondingly decreased. It is likely that interest rates will continue to rise in the future, which may further adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position. Although we have entered into agreements capping portions of our exposure to higher interest rates, these agreements may not prove to be effective in the aggregate, as a significant portion of our variable rate debt remains uncapped.

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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, including with respect to sustainability matters, 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.

The replacement of LIBOR with SOFR may adversely affect interest expense related to our outstanding debt.

We have outstanding debt with variable interest rates based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). Previously, the variable interest rates related to our outstanding debt were based on the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). The composition and characteristics of SOFR significantly differ from those of LIBOR. For instance, SOFR is a secured rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate; and while SOFR is an overnight rate, LIBOR represents interbank funding for a specified term. The use of SOFR-based rates may result in interest rates and/or payments that are higher or lower than the rates and payments that we previously experienced when referenced to LIBOR. SOFR is a relatively new reference rate, has a very limited history, and is based on short-term repurchase agreements backed by U.S. Treasury securities. Changes in SOFR could be volatile and difficult to predict, and there can be no assurance that SOFR will perform similarly to the way LIBOR would have performed at any time, including as a result of, without limitation, changes in interest and yield rates in the market, bank credit risk, market volatility or global or regional economic, financial, political, regulatory, judicial, or other events. As a result, the amount of interest we may pay on our credit facilities can be difficult to predict. Prior observed patterns, if any, in the behavior of market variables and their relation to SOFR, such as correlations, may change in the future, and there can be no assurance that SOFR will be positive. While some pre-publication historical data for SOFR has been released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, production of such historical indicative SOFR data inherently involves assumptions, estimates and approximations. No future performance of SOFR may be inferred from any of the historical actual or historical indicative SOFR data. Hypothetical or historical performance data are not indicative of, and have no bearing on, the potential performance of SOFR. Additionally, there can be no assurance that SOFR will continue to maintain market acceptance or that the method by which the reference rate is calculated will continue in its current form. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may adversely affect the trading market for our securities as well as our results of operations and cash flows.

Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for more information about the replacement of LIBOR-based interest rates applicable to borrowings under our debt agreements with SOFR-based interest rates.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our Sponsors have significant influence over us, 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 by our Sponsors through our Principal Stockholder. Our Principal Stockholder controls approximately 69% 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 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.

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We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules and, as a result, qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. Accordingly, the holders of our Class A common stock do not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.

Our Sponsors, through our Principal Stockholder, control a majority of the voting power of our common stock with respect to director elections. As a result, we are 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; and
the requirement that our compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors.

We currently utilize all of these exemptions. As a result, we do not have a majority of independent directors serving on our board of directors and neither our compensation committee nor our nominating and corporate governance committee 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.

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

Six of our eleven directors are 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 may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws 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 with our Principal Stockholder (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 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

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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 are a Delaware corporation 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 have elected in our certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203. However, our certificate of incorporation contains provisions that have the same effect as Section 203, except that they provide our Sponsors, our Principal Stockholder, their affiliates, and their respective successors (other than our company), as well as their direct and indirect transferees, are not 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, please read Exhibit 4.3 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Since we have no current plans to pay regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock, 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 have not paid, and do not anticipate paying, any regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock. 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 First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility, as well as by the terms of our stockholder’s agreement. 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.

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

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. and certain of our subsidiaries 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 Stores, Inc. and certain of 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. 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.

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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 designates 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 provides 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 made in 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 does not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by 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 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

Our operating results and share price may be volatile, and the market price of our Class A common stock may drop.

Our quarterly operating results are likely to fluctuate in the future. 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, has, and could continue to, 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 price that you paid for them, 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;
issuance of new or changed securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

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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, including interest rates and financial market uncertainty;
changes in accounting principles;
default under agreements governing our indebtedness; and
other events or factors, including those from severe weather events (including as a result of climate change), 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 and/or settling 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.

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 has 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 may be sold into the market, which 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. We have also filed 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 has demand registration rights that will require us to file registration statements in

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connection with future sales of our stock by our Principal Stockholder, including in connection with the note purchase agreement described below. 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 lock-up agreements. 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, our Principal Stockholder has entered into a note purchase agreement. The obligations under the note purchase agreement are 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 First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility. Any foreclosure on our common stock that 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.

If securities or industry analysts 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 is influenced in part 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, 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 Class A common stock price may decline.

We have been, and anticipate to continue, providing guidance on our expected operating and financial results for future periods on an annual basis, 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K 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.

As a public company, we are required to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. 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 to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Additionally, our independent public accounting firm also is required to issue an attestation 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 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. Moreover, any material weaknesses could result in a material misstatement of our annual or quarterly consolidated financial statements or disclosures that may not be prevented or detected.

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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.

From time to time, U.S. tax authorities, including state and local governments, consider legislation that, if enacted, could have a material effect on our effective tax rate.

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.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

We have co-headquartered facilities, located in San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas. Our San Diego, California location was completed in the summer of fiscal 2015, comprising a total of approximately 257,000 square feet, and is under a long-term lease. Our San Antonio location consists of a sub-divided leased facility, comprising a total of approximately 73,000 square feet.

We lease all of our distribution center locations and all of our 1,430 pet care centers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The original lease term for pet care centers is generally ten years, with certain leases being shorter or longer, and many of these leases contain renewal options. The vast majority of pet care center leases, excluding renewal options, expire at various dates over the next ten years. Our pet care centers are generally located at sites co-anchored by strong destination stores. Certain leases require payment of property taxes, utilities, common area maintenance and insurance and, if annual sales at certain locations exceed specified amounts, provide for additional rent expense.

We are involved in the legal proceedings described in Note 15, Commitments and Contingencies, in our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and we are subject to other claims and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. The outcome of any litigation is inherently uncertain, and if decided adversely to us, or if we determine that settlement of particular litigation is appropriate, we may be subject to liability that could have a material adverse effect on our business. We believe that there are no pending lawsuits or claims that, individually or in the aggregate, may have a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

Our Class A common stock is currently listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker “WOOF” and began trading on January 14, 2021. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. There is no public trading market for our Class B-1 common stock, par value $0.001 per share, or our Class B-2 common stock, par value $0.000001 per share.

Holders

As of March 23, 2023, there were sixty-four shareholders of record of our Class A common stock, one shareholder of record of our Class B-1 common stock, and two shareholders of record of our Class B-2 common stock. The number of record holders of our Class A common stock does not reflect the number of persons or entities holding their stock in “street” name through brokerage firms or other nominee holders.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Equity Securities

None.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

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 and pay down our indebtedness. 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,” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for descriptions of restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.

 

Performance Graph

 

The graph below compares the cumulative total return on our Class A common stock with the cumulative total returns of the Nasdaq Composite index and S&P Retail index from January14, 2021 (the initial day of trading for our Class A common stock) through January 28, 2023. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our Class A common stock, in each index, and in the peer group (including reinvestment of dividends) was $100 on January 14, 2021 and tracks it through January 28, 2023. The comparisons in the graph below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our Class A common stock.

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https://cdn.kscope.io/c9a13f20075dc518bb394e9ea1f9a0e0-img113262308_0.jpg 

 

 

 

1/14/21

1/21

4/21

7/21

10/21

1/22

4/22

7/22

10/22

1/23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petco Health and Wellness Company Inc.

 

100.00

88.54

80.34

70.17

84.12

62.24

65.51

47.35

35.82

39.93

NASDAQ Composite

 

100.00

101.44

108.55

114.26

120.88

111.23

96.52

97.17

86.35

91.27

S&P Retail

 

100.00

99.36

112.41

111.83

117.11

105.22

93.07

96.00

84.47

87.14

 

The above performance graph shall not be deemed "filed" for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or incorporated by reference into any filing of Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

Item 6. [Reserved]

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Item 7. 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 consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 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,” included in Part I, Item 1A, and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. 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. The risks described in documents we file from time to time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including the sections entitled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, should be carefully reviewed.

Overview

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. (“Petco”, the “Company”, “we”, “our” and “us”) is a category-defining health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents, and our own partners. We have consistently set new standards in pet care while delivering comprehensive pet wellness products, services and solutions, and creating communities that deepen the pet-pet parent bond. In recent years, we have transformed our business from a successful yet traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully integrated, omnichannel provider of holistic pet health and wellness offerings, including premium products, services, and veterinary care. Through our integrated ecosystem, we provide our over 25 million total active customers with a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services to fulfill their pets’ health and wellness needs through our more than 1,500 pet care centers in the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico, including a growing network of 247 in-store veterinary hospitals, our digital channel, and our flexible fulfillment options.

Our multicategory, go-to-market strategy integrates our strong digital assets with our nationwide physical footprint to meet the needs of pet parents who are looking for a single source for all their pet’s needs. Our e-commerce site and personalized mobile app serve as hubs for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By leveraging our extensive physical network of pet care centers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over much of our competition. The full value of our health and wellness ecosystem is realized for customers through our Vital Care Premier membership program. From the nutrition and supplies pets need each day, to the services that keep them at optimal health, Vital Care Premier makes it easier and more affordable for pet parents to care for their pet’s whole health all in one place. Vital Care Premier memberships are at the top of our integrated loyalty programs, followed by Vital Care Core and our other perks programs that provide rewards for frequent purchasing.

We strive to be a truly unique company, one that is saving and improving millions of pet lives and tangibly improving the lives of pet parents and the partners who work for us, while at the same time executing our differentiated strategy with excellence. In tandem with Petco Love (formerly the Petco Foundation), an independent nonprofit organization, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, we have helped find homes for nearly 7 million animals.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill the needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages a broad, carefully curated assortment of owned brand and exclusive merchandise and partnerships with premium third-party brands to provide customers with high quality nutrition without artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies and companion animals. While we offer pet parents a full spectrum of product choices within our high standards of nutrition and quality, our assortment is differentially weighted towards premium products to address the needs of the growing number of health-conscious pet parents. We integrate this differentiated product offering with our services business in order to build on the foundation of treating the whole pet, including their physical, mental and social well-being. Our service offering includes a broad suite of pet health services, including veterinary care, grooming and training. This offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, high quality, accessible, comprehensive veterinary care platform, which includes full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco mobile clinics, and tele-health services. We are increasingly linking our offerings with membership programs such as Vital Care Premier and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our customers, and with our Vital Care Core loyalty program members specifically, which members accounted for over 85% of transactions in fiscal 2022. In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 26,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners in our pet care centers provide important high-quality advice to our customers.

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Macroeconomic factors, including rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, supply chain constraints, global economic and geopolitical developments, and the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic have varying impacts on our results of operations, such as decreases in sales of discretionary items like supplies, that are difficult to isolate and quantify. We cannot predict the duration or ultimate severity of these macroeconomic factors or the ultimate impact on our operations and liquidity. For more information regarding certain risks associated with these macroeconomic factors, please refer to the risk factors in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of this Form 10-K.

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

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

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 pet care centers become comparable pet care centers on the first day of operation if the original pet care center was open longer than 12 full fiscal months. If, during the period presented, a pet care center was closed, sales from that pet care center are included up to the first day of the month of closing. 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 filing 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 also a key driver of changes in comparable sales.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Management and our board of directors review, in addition to GAAP (as defined herein) measures, certain non-GAAP financial measures, including Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow to evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans and make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital. Further explanations of these non-GAAP measures, along with reconciliations to their most comparable GAAP measures, are presented below under “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to GAAP Measures.”

Factors Affecting Our Business

We believe that our performance and future success depend on several factors that present significant opportunities for us but also pose risks and challenges, including those discussed below and in the section titled “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Pet Industry Trends

The U.S. pet care industry is large and growing, serving millions of households with pets, and represented a total addressable market of $133 billion in 2022. Since 2008, the industry has exhibited steady growth driven by an increase in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization. Due to the essential, repeat nature of pet care, the industry has demonstrated resilience across economic cycles, as evidenced by the strong industry performance during the Great Recession from 2008 to 2010. In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry experienced a significant increase in household pets and therefore demand, which is expected to be a tailwind for years to come. Beginning in fiscal 2020, U.S. households welcomed millions of incremental new pets into their homes that will need to be fed, groomed, vaccinated, and treated during their lives. Importantly, the majority of these new pet parents came from Millennial and Gen Z generations, who typically spend more on their pets.

Customer Pet Purchase Trends

Our multi-channel integrated ecosystem is designed to support our customers regardless of how customers choose to shop for their pet care needs. As we saw the major purchase trend shift and growth into areas like

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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 encourage 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., 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- and up-selling activities in pet care centers. The ability to convert more of our customers to loyal, multi-channel shoppers will positively affect business performance. As pet care demand continues to grow, we believe we are well-positioned to capture an outsized portion of the growing market as a fully-integrated, comprehensive pet care provider.

Innovation and Transformation

Our operating results reflect significant investments made to support innovation and business transformation strategies. These investments include: expansion of our veterinary footprint, digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; enhanced supply chain capacity including additional distribution centers; data analytical capabilities; and marketing and advertising.

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 BOPUS, curbside pick-up, and same day delivery, 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 gross margins (though attractive operating margins), as well as customer shopping preferences, impacts 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 our ongoing growth.

 

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.

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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 associated with sales to customers;
freight costs associated with moving merchandise inventories;
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.

Selling, General, and Administrative Expense

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

payroll and benefit costs of pet care center employees and corporate employees;
occupancy and operating costs of pet care centers and corporate facilities;
depreciation and amortization related to pet care centers and corporate assets;
credit card fees;
store pre-opening and remodeling costs;
advertising costs; and
other selling and administrative costs.

SG&A includes both fixed and variable costs and therefore is not directly correlated with net sales.

Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Impairment

In connection with the fiscal 2015 acquisition by our 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 in fiscal 2020 and a portion of fiscal 2021 was primarily associated with a term loan facility, a revolving credit facility, the Floating Rate Senior Notes (as defined herein), the 3.00% Senior Notes (as defined herein), and interest rate caps. In January 2021, the Floating Rate Senior Notes and the 3.00% Senior Notes were exchanged, canceled, and/or redeemed in connection with the initial public offering, and our interest rate caps were settled in accordance with their contractual terms. On March 4, 2021, we borrowed $1,700.0 million under a new first lien term loan facility, repaid all outstanding principal and interest on the existing term loan facility, and replaced our existing revolving credit facility with a new revolving credit facility. Please read the discussion under “Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Liquidity” for further information.

Our interest expense in fiscal 2022 was primarily associated with a first lien term loan facility and a revolving credit facility. In November 2022, we entered into a series of interest rate cap agreements to limit the maximum interest on a portion of our variable-rate debt and decrease our exposure to interest rate variability. In December 2022, we amended our first lien term loan facility and our revolving credit facility to replace the LIBOR-based rate

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with a SOFR-based rate as the interest rate benchmark. Please read the discussion under “Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Liquidity” for further information.

Income Tax Expense (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 from Equity Method Investees

Investments for which the Company exercises significant influence but does not have control are accounted for under the equity method. Equity method investment activity is primarily related to a 50% joint venture with Grupo Gigante, S.A.B. de C.V. (the “Mexico joint venture”) to establish Petco locations in Mexico. The Company’s share of the investee’s results is presented as either income or loss from equity method investees in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

Net Loss Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest

The noncontrolling 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. In May 2022, the Company completed the purchase of the remaining 50% of the issued and outstanding membership interests of the joint venture, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company.

Executive Summary

Our business transformation initiatives, accelerated by an increase in pet ownership and a shift in customer discretionary spend toward the pet category, have driven strong top-and bottom-line results in our business. Comparing fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, our results included the following:

an increase in net sales from $5.81 billion to $6.04 billion, representing period-over-period growth of 3.9%;
comparable sales growth of 4.5%;
net income attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders of $90.8 million, compared to net income attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders of $164.4 million in the prior year; and
Net cash flows provided by operating activities decreased from $358.2 million in fiscal 2021 to $346.0 million in fiscal 2022.

49


 

Results of Operations

The following tables summarize our results of operations and the percent of net sales of line items included in our consolidated statements of operations (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 28,
2023

 

 

January 29,
2022

 

 

January 30,
2021

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Net sales

 

$

6,035,967

 

 

$

5,807,149

 

 

$

4,920,202

 

Cost of sales

 

 

3,608,860

 

 

 

3,380,539

 

 

 

2,813,464

 

Gross profit

 

 

2,427,107

 

 

 

2,426,610

 

 

 

2,106,738

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

2,201,548

 

 

 

2,160,539

 

 

 

1,912,314

 

Operating income

 

 

225,559

 

 

 

266,071

 

 

 

194,424

 

Interest income

 

 

(1,032

)

 

 

(62

)

 

 

(653

)

Interest expense

 

 

101,643

 

 

 

77,397

 

 

 

219,083

 

Loss on extinguishment and modification of debt

 

 

 

 

 

20,838

 

 

 

17,549

 

Other non-operating loss (income)

 

 

12,667

 

 

 

(34,497

)

 

 

 

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

 

 

112,281

 

 

 

202,395

 

 

 

(41,555

)

Income tax expense (benefit)

 

 

35,347

 

 

 

53,473

 

 

 

(3,337

)

Income from equity method investees

 

 

(12,976

)

 

 

(10,883

)

 

 

(6,482

)

Net income (loss)

 

 

89,910

 

 

 

159,805

 

 

 

(31,736

)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

(891

)

 

 

(4,612

)

 

 

(5,253

)

Net income (loss) attributable to Class A and B-1 common
   stockholders

 

$

90,801

 

 

$

164,417

 

 

$

(26,483

)

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 28,
2023

 

 

January 29,
2022

 

 

January 30,
2021

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Net sales

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Cost of sales

 

 

59.8

 

 

 

58.2

 

 

 

57.2

 

Gross profit

 

 

40.2

 

 

 

41.8

 

 

 

42.8

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

36.5

 

 

 

37.2

 

 

 

38.9

 

Operating income

 

 

3.7

 

 

 

4.6

 

 

 

3.9

 

Interest income

 

 

(0.0

)

 

 

(0.0

)

 

 

(0.0

)

Interest expense

 

 

1.6

 

 

 

1.3

 

 

 

4.4

 

Loss on extinguishment and modification of debt

 

 

 

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

0.3

 

Other non-operating loss (income)

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

(0.6

)

 

 

 

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

 

 

1.9

 

 

 

3.5

 

 

 

(0.8

)

Income tax expense (benefit)

 

 

0.6

 

 

 

0.9

 

 

 

(0.1

)

Income from equity method investees

 

 

(0.2

)

 

 

(0.2

)

 

 

(0.1

)

Net income (loss)

 

 

1.5

 

 

 

2.8

 

 

 

(0.6

)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

(0.1

)

Net income (loss) attributable to Class A and B-1 common
   stockholders

 

 

1.5

%

 

 

2.8

%

 

 

(0.5

)%

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 28,
2023

 

 

January 29,
2022

 

 

January 30,
2021

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Operational Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparable sales increase

 

 

4.5

%

 

 

18.9

%

 

 

11.4

%

Total pet care centers (U.S. and Puerto Rico) at end of period

 

 

1,430

 

 

 

1,433

 

 

 

1,454

 

Total veterinarian practices at end of period

 

 

247

 

 

 

197

 

 

 

125

 

 

50


 

 

Fiscal 2022 (52 weeks) Compared with Fiscal 2021 (52 weeks)

Net Sales and Comparable Sales

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

(dollars in thousands)

January 28,
2023

 

 

January 29,
2022

 

 

$
Change

 

 

%
Change

 

Consumables

$

2,859,602

 

 

$

2,533,755

 

 

$

325,847

 

 

 

12.9

%

Supplies and companion animals

 

2,370,913