The future of Bates UK’s pounds 1.3 million PetsMart account is in
question after the scandal-plagued pet store chain’s takeover by its
main UK rival.
The business was already under review at Bates before PetsMart was
bought by Pets at Home last month.
Now the new owner has put the review on hold, while it decides whether
or not to invest in above-the-line advertising at all, according to
Previously, the stores were promoted via local press, posters and
But the account has been dormant for several months.
Toby Hoare, the Bates group chief executive, said: ’We are currently not
doing any work for PetsMart.’
The image of Britain’s largest group of pet superstores was severely
damaged after charges were made by the BBC Weekend Watchdog programme
last month that staff clubbed sick animals to death and left others to
The claims prompted an investigation by PetsMart into the living
conditions and health of several thousand animals in its stores.
It followed allegations by former PetsMart staff of sick rabbits being
killed with spades and hamsters smashed against walls in plastic
Bates won the then Pet City account in February 1994. The stores were
modelled on the US concept of ’category killers’, which aim to destroy
all retail and wholesale competition in the stores’ catchment areas.
Two years later the US-based PetsMart bought Pet City for a staggering
pounds 150 million even though the stores had not made a profit.
Since then, the US company struggled to make its UK operation successful
as cheaper product lines from the US have hit the stores’ profits.