Retail

Pet Valu to wind down U.S. operations, joining list of retailers shuttered by pandemic


A dog rests outside a Pet Valu store.

Colin McConnell | Toronto Star | Getty Images

Pet Valu has joined the list of retailers permanently shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The specialty retailer of pet food and supplies said Wednesday that it will wind down operations at its Pennsylvania headquarters and close all of its 358 stores and warehouses across the U.S. It said closing sales will begin in the next few days.

The pandemic fueled a pet boom across the U.S., as Americans looked for companionship during long stays at home. Animal rescues and breeders saw a jump in the number of pet adoptions and foster parents during the global health crisis. That’s led to higher sales for some retailers, including privately owned pet superstores Petco and PetSmart, and e-commerce pet retailers Chewy. It’s also inspired new services, such as the addition of curbside pickup at Petco and PetSmart and the launch of telehealth service by Chewy.

That pet boom wasn’t enough to save Pet Valu, however. With Wednesday’s announcement, it becomes the latest retailer pushed to the financial brink by the global health crisis. A growing list of companies, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand, have filed for bankruptcy protection this year. The list includes some companies that have closed their doors for good including off-price shop Stein Mart, home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports and department store Lord & Taylor.

Jamie Gould, Pet Valu’s recently appointed chief restructuring officer, said in a news release that the company’s stores “have been significantly impacted by the protracted COVID-19-related restrictions.”

“After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to commence this orderly wind down,” she said.

The company is owned by private equity firm Roark Capital Group. Markham, Ontario-based Pet Valu Canada is a separate, profitable company and will continue to operate its stores and website.

In the U.S., Pet Valu stores will stay open until the wind-down is complete, but customers can no longer place orders on the company’s website.



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