Mars Petcare has launched an advice website to help independent retailers promote the petfood category to the 77% of pet owners who visit convenience stores - but don’t buy any.

PetProfit offers advice on how to develop the category and includes tips on choosing the right range for the store, information on market trends and suggestions on how to increase impulse purchases.

Retailers are also being offered PoS material to raise awareness of their petfood ranges and flag up deals.

The initiative follows a survey by Mars of 5,668 c-store shoppers that revealed 22% of pet owners did not even know their local c-store sold petfood, while a further 55% were aware petfood was stocked but chose not to purchase it. The survey also found that petfood shoppers spent over 50% more on average than non-petfood shoppers.

“Pet is a big category at over £2bn, yet the opportunity for convenience retailers is still massive,” said head of convenience Alistair Smith.

Total petfood sales ran to £2.14bn last year, ahead of babyfood at £1.41bn and cereals at £1.92bn [Kantar Worldpanel till roll 2011].