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Only Asda and Tesco offered any promotional space for pets last month

World Animal Day took place last week, but supermarket promotions weren’t looking particularly pet-friendly in the run-up.

Almost all the major mults cut their featured space deals for the petcare category in the four weeks to 1 October compared with the same period in 2018 [Promo Dynamic Retailers]. Only Tesco increased space - albeit by just 0.7%. In fact, it and Asda were the only retailers to offer any space at all, with a 1.8% and 2.3% share of total promotions respectively.

“It’s surprising to see very few promotions in this category utilise featured space locations,” says Assosia director Kay Staniland. “Of the petcare promotions, only 48 were available on catfood, 24 on dogfood, and only eight on treats.”

While Tesco increased its number of deals on petcare from 24 to 40, average savings were down from 23.4% to 18.3%. Asda cut its deals from 56 to 40 year on year, but average saving rose from 20.3% to 22.8%.

It comes as supermarkets face increasing pressure in petcare from specialist retailers and direct-to-consumer brands.

In fact, the mults are already “lagging behind on the leading trends and in many ways have remained the last bastion for traditional brands” according to Jack Walker, co-founder of the Scrumbles petfood brand. “Online is making huge advances on bricks-and-mortar retail, particularly in dry food.”

However, while specialist retailers are also at risk of losing customers to DTC, they are “able to offer a more interesting shopping experience” Walker notes.

Jenny Kennedy, head of category & insights at Pets Choice, predicts that “supermarkets’ growth will be marginal over the next five years at a total market level”, with online set to grow fastest over the same period. “Pet categories are likely to form part of the same pattern of marginal growth in supermarkets.”