PET retailer Jollyes is pushing ahead with ambitious growth plans that will see it open a new store in Wrexham in the first half of 2022.

The chain, which already has a store in Flint, saw sales surge to a record high, including its busiest Christmas Eve when dog owners rushed out to buy presents for furry family members.

In the half year to November 30, revenue increased to £42 million, a 12.5 per cent rise in like-for-like sales against a year earlier and by 30 per cent the same period in 2019.

The latest results indicate the UK has still not reached ‘Peak Dog’ as Britain became a nation of pandemic pet parents.

December sales broke all company records, including a surge in demand for dog toys – reflecting the broader trend for “humanisation”, as dogs, cats and other animals are treated like companions amid growing awareness of the mental health benefits of keeping pets.

Jollyes is building on its success with plans to open 20 new stores in the next 12 months and looking for more acquisitions following the successful purchase of two businesses in 2021 which took the total number of stores to over 70 for the first time.

In the first half of 2022, Jollyes will open new Scottish stores in Edinburgh, Glenrothes and Stirling, as well as the store in Wrexham.

And, as part of its investment in Northern Ireland, it will open a new store in Cookstown next month.

Richard Cotter, executive chairman of Jollyes, said: “To come through the pandemic and all of the challenges it has presented to retailers in such good shape is testimony to the hard work of everyone at the business.

“The tremendous half year sales and record December numbers show how much customers appreciate the work we’ve done to develop our ranges and invest in our people.

“We’re well placed to push ahead with our ambitious growth and investment plans with an exciting pipeline of new stores and refurbishments, and keen looking for acquisition opportunities across the UK.”

Among the top performing stores during the half year were Enniskillen, Skegness, Maidstone and Gloucester all delivering like for like growth of over 30 per cent compared to the prior year.

According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, 3.2 million households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, with cat and dog ownership alone reaching 12 million of each. It estimates that 17 million households have a pet.