Pet superstore chain Pets at Home yesterday unveiled plans for more than a dozen new stores this year, as it reported a 45 per cent jump in earnings.
The Cheshire-based firm, which runs 162 stores and employs 2,500, plans to open 17 outlets in the next financial year.
In the Midlands it has stores at Stafford, Cannock, Uttoxeter and Stoke-on-Trent.
The privately-owned group said it increased pre-tax earnings before interest, goodwill and depreciation to £34.1 million from £24 million in the year to March 31.
It said new ranges, development of own-label food products and better sourcing, particularly from the Far East, helped it boost like-for-like sales by more than 12 per cent during the year and turnover by 19 per cent to £260 million.
In July last year, private equity group Bridgepoint bought the firm for £230 million after minority shareholders 3i and ICG decided to sell their stakes.
Anthony Preston, who founded the business and whose family previously had a controlling stake, retained an undisclosed holding.
The company, which sells pet foods and accessories, began life in 1991 with a single store in Chester.
It then expanded throughout the 1990s to 60 stores before buying PetSmart, then its largest UK rival, in 1999. It opened 12 stores last year.