Attached files

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EX-32.2 - EX-32.2 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex322_7.htm
EX-32.1 - EX-32.1 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex321_6.htm
EX-31.2 - EX-31.2 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex312_8.htm
EX-31.1 - EX-31.1 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex311_9.htm
EX-23 - EX-23 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex23_389.htm
EX-10.35 - EX-10.35 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1035_388.htm
EX-10.34 - EX-10.34 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1034_387.htm
EX-10.33 - EX-10.33 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1033_386.htm
EX-10.32 - EX-10.32 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1032_385.htm
EX-10.31 - EX-10.31 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1031_384.htm
EX-10.11 - EX-10.11 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex1011_383.htm
EX-4.3 - EX-4.3 - Petco Health & Wellness Company, Inc.woof-ex43_382.htm

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended January 30, 2021

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                     

Commission File Number 001-39878

 

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

81-1005932

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

10850 Via Frontera

San Diego, California

92127

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (858) 453-7845

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share

 

WOOF

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files).  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  YES  NO 

As of August 1, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the registrant’s equity was not listed on any domestic exchange or over-the-counter market. The registrant’s common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on January 14, 2021.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Class A Common Stock outstanding as of April 1, 2021 was 226,424,140.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Class B-1 Common Stock outstanding as of April 1, 2021 was 37,790,781.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Class B-2 Common Stock outstanding as of April 1, 2021 was 37,790,781.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None.

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

6

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

12

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

39

Item 2.

Properties

39

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

39

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

39

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

40

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

40

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

41

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

58

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

59

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

99

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

99

Item 9B.

Other Information

99

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

100

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

106

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

126

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

129

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

131

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

132

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

135

Signatures

136

 

1


Note on the Presentation

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, (i) references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to “Petco,” “our company,” “we,” “our,” and “us,” or like terms, refer to Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries, individually and/or collectively, (ii) “Petco Animal Supplies” refers to Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., our wholly owned subsidiary, and (iii) references to “common stock” refer to our Class A common stock, our Class B-1 common stock and our Class B-2 common stock, collectively. References to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws are to our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our second amended and restated bylaws, respectively.

We are currently indirectly controlled by certain funds (the “CVC Funds”) that are advised and/or managed by CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”) and CPP Investments, a Canadian company (together with its affiliates, “CPP Investments” and together with the CVC Funds, our “Sponsors”). Our Sponsors primarily exercise their control through Scooby Aggregator, LP (our “Principal Stockholder”).

We report on the basis of a 52- or 53-week fiscal year, which ends on the Saturday closest to January 31. References to “fiscal year” mean the year in which that fiscal year began. For example, references to fiscal 2020 refer to the fiscal year beginning February 2, 2020 and ending January 30, 2021.

On November 19, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Items 301, 302 and 303 of Regulation S-K, which became effective on February 10, 2021. Although mandatory compliance is not required until our fiscal year ending January 29, 2022, early adoption is permitted, and we have elected to early adopt amended Items 301, 302 and 303 of Regulation S-K in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for our fiscal year ended January 30, 2021.

 

Industry and Market Data

This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes market data and forecasts with respect to the pet care industry. Although we are responsible for all of the disclosure contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, in some cases we rely on and refer to market data and certain industry forecasts that were obtained from third-party surveys, market research, consultant surveys, publicly available information and industry publications and surveys that we believe to be reliable. Unless otherwise indicated, all market and industry data and other statistical information and forecasts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on independent industry publications, government publications, reports by market research firms or other published independent sources, such as Packaged Facts, and other externally obtained data that we believe to be reliable. Some market and industry data, and statistical information and forecasts, are also based on management’s estimates, which are derived from our review of internal surveys as well as the independent sources referred to above. Any such market data, information or forecast may prove to be inaccurate because of the method by which we obtain it or because it cannot always be verified with complete certainty given the limits on the availability and reliability of raw data, the voluntary nature of the data gathering process, and other limitations and uncertainties, including those discussed under the caption “Risk Factors.” As a result, although we believe that these sources are reliable, we have not independently verified the information.

2


Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), concerning expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, or performance and underlying assumptions and other statements that are other than statements of historical fact are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although we believe that the expectations and assumptions reflected in these statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that these expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in such forward-looking statements. In addition to the specific factors discussed in “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” the following are among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements:

 

general economic factors, a decline in consumer spending or changes in consumer preferences, or failure to successfully predict and respond to changing consumer trends and demand;

 

any damage to our reputation or our brand;

 

competition, including internet-based competition;

 

difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians;

 

challenges associated with integrating and growing our e-commerce business;

 

failure to successfully execute our growth strategies, including expanding our veterinary service offerings and building out our digital and data capabilities, or manage and sustain our recent growth;

 

failure to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth;

 

the loss of key personnel or our principal executive officers;

 

the loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors;

 

health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions taken by third parties, including, but not limited to, governmental authorities, customers, contractors, and vendors, in response to such epidemics or pandemics;

 

a disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion, or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain that would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses;

 

the effects of government regulation, permitting, and other legal requirements, including new legislation or regulation related to our veterinary services;

 

breaches of, or interruptions in, our or our vendors’ data security and information systems, or cyber-attacks that disrupt our or our vendors’ information systems;

 

pet food safety, quality, and health concerns;

 

our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and limit our ability to pursue our growth strategy;

 

the impact of current and potential changes to federal or state tax rules and regulations; and

 

other factors described under “Risk Factors.”

Any of the foregoing events or factors, or other events or factors, could cause actual results, including financial performance, to vary materially from the forward-looking statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Additionally, the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic may give rise to risks that are currently unknown or amplify the risks associated with many of these factors. You should consider these important factors, as well as the risk factors set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, in evaluating any statement made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Please read “Risk Factors” for more information. For the foregoing reasons, you are cautioned against relying on any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we undertake no duty to update publicly any forward-looking statement that we make, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law, regulation or other competent legal authority.

3


In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. While we believe that information provides a reasonable basis for these statements, that information may be limited or incomplete. Our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on these statements.

Risk Factors Summary

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The following is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our securities speculative or risky, all of which are more fully described below in the section titled “Risk Factors.” This summary should be read in conjunction with the “Risk Factors” section and should not be relied upon as an exhaustive summary of the material risks facing our business. In addition to the following summary, you should consider the information set forth in the “Risk Factors” section and the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K before investing in our securities.

Risks Related to Our Business

 

A decline in consumer spending or a change in consumer preferences or demographics could reduce our sales or profitability and adversely affect our business.

 

The growth of our business depends in part on our ability to accurately predict consumer trends, successfully introduce new products and services, improve existing products and services, and expand into new offerings.

 

Competition in the markets in which we operate, including internet-based competition, is strong and if we are unable to compete effectively, our ability to generate sales may suffer and our operating income and net income could decline.

 

We may be unable to execute our growth strategies successfully or manage and sustain our growth, and as a result, our business may be adversely affected.

 

We may experience difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians due to shortages that could disrupt our business.

 

We face various risks as an e-commerce retailer.

 

If we fail to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth strategies, we may be unable to sustain our growth and our business may be adversely affected.

 

The loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of any of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors, could negatively impact our business.

 

A disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion, or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses, which could harm our sales and profitability.

 

We occasionally seek to grow our business through acquisitions of or investments in new or complementary businesses, products, or services, or through strategic ventures, and the failure to successfully identify these opportunities, manage and integrate these acquisitions, investments, or alliances, or to achieve an adequate return on these investments, could have an adverse effect on us.

 

Negative publicity arising from claims that we do not properly care for animals we handle or sell could adversely affect how we are perceived by the public and reduce our sales and profitability.

 

Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate due to the timing of expenses, new pet care center openings, pet care center closures, and other factors.

 

Pet food safety, quality, and health concerns could adversely affect our business.

 

Fluctuations in the prices and availability of certain commodities, such as rawhide, grains, and meat protein, could materially adversely affect our operating results.

4


Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters

 

Failure to comply with governmental regulations or the expansion of existing or the enactment of new laws or regulations applicable to our veterinary services could adversely affect our business and our financial condition or lead to fines, litigation, or our inability to offer veterinary products or services in certain states.

 

Our marketing programs, e-commerce initiatives, and use of consumer information are governed by an evolving set of laws and enforcement trends, and changes in privacy laws or trends, or our failure to comply with existing or future laws, could substantially harm our business and results of operations.

 

Failure to establish, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights or prevent third parties from making unauthorized use of our technology or our brand could harm our competitive position or require us to incur significant expenses to enforce our rights.

 

We are subject to environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations that could result in costs to us.

 

We may fail to comply with various state or federal regulations covering the dispensing of prescription pet medications, including controlled substances, through our veterinary services businesses, which may subject us to reprimands, sanctions, probations, fines, or suspensions.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

 

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flows and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under existing debt agreements.

 

The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests.

 

Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in the credit agreements for the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility, including as a result of events beyond our control, could result in an event of default that could cause repayment of our debt to be accelerated.

 

The amount of borrowings permitted under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility may fluctuate significantly, which may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.

 

A ratings downgrade or other negative action by a ratings organization could adversely affect the trading price of the shares of our Class A common stock.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

 

Our Sponsors have significant influence over us, including control over decisions that require the approval of stockholders, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to stockholders for a vote.

 

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules and, as a result, qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. Accordingly, the holders of our Class A common stock do not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.

 

We are a holding company with nominal net worth and will depend on dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to pay any dividends.

 

The multi-class structure of our common stock may adversely affect the trading market for our Class A common stock.

General Risk Factors

 

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future. This could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

 

If our operating and financial performance in any given period does not meet the guidance that we have provided to the public or the expectations of our investors and analysts, our Class A common stock price may decline.

 

5


PART I

Item 1. Business.

Our Company

We are a beloved brand in the U.S. pet care industry with more than 55 years of service to pets and the people who love and care for them. Since our founding in 1965, we have been developing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through our products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet and pet-parent bond. Over the last three years, we have transformed the business from a successful traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully-integrated, digital-focused provider of pet health and wellness offerings. We revamped our leadership team and invested over $375 million to build out leading capabilities across e-commerce and digital, owned brands, data analytics, and a full suite of on-site services including veterinary care.

Our go-to-market strategy is powered by a multi-channel platform that integrates our digital presence with our nationwide physical network. Our e-commerce site and personalized mobile app serve as a hub for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By leveraging our extensive physical network consisting of approximately 1,454 pet care centers located within three miles of 53% of our customers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of ship-from-store, buy online and pick up in store (“BOPUS”), curbside pick-up, and same day delivery. Multi-channel customers, who spend between 3x to 7x more with us compared to single-channel customers, increased by double-digits in 2020.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill all the health and wellness needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages our owned brand portfolio and partnerships with premium third-party brands to deliver high quality food that avoids artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies. We augment this product offering with a broad suite of professional services, including grooming as well as in-store and online training. Our service offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, affordable veterinary service platform, which includes full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinarian services. In addition, we are increasingly linking our offerings with subscription programs such as membership and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our customers and with our Pals Rewards loyalty program members specifically, which members accounted for approximately 80% of transactions in fiscal 2020. At the end of 2020, we launched our Vital Care membership program, the industry’s first broad-scale, comprehensive membership program covering items including vaccinations, grooming services, and merchandise discounts.  In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 23,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners provide important high-quality advice to our customers in our pet care centers.

Industry Dynamics

The U.S. pet care industry serves more than 72 million households with pets and represented a total addressable market of $97 billion in 2020. Since 2008, the industry has grown at a 5% compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”), driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization. Due to the essential, consumable nature of pet care, the industry has demonstrated resilience across economic cycles, as evidenced by the strong industry performance, growing at a CAGR of 6% during the Great Recession from 2008 to 2010.

In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has experienced a significant increase in demand that is expected to be a tailwind for years to come. In 2020, U.S. households welcomed over 3 million incremental new pets and drove continued heightened adoption activity. According to Packaged Facts, the number of households with pets in the United States increased by approximately 4% in 2020, creating an estimated $4 billion in incremental annual demand for pet care products. Given the long-term, recurring demand for pet care products and services, which is expected to continue to grow in response to the pet humanization trend, this step function increase in the pet population represents a meaningful acceleration in total industry growth from 5% historically to 7% through 2024, according to Packaged Facts and company internal estimates. With respect to our business, we are strategically focused on growing our presence in three of the fastest-growing areas of the market: services; e-commerce; and veterinary care, which are projected to grow at 11%, 14%, and 9% CAGRs, respectively, from 2020 to 2024. As pet care demand continues to grow, we believe we are well-positioned to capture an outsized portion of the growing market as a fully-integrated, comprehensive pet care provider in the industry.

6


Our Transformation

Over the past three years we have invested over $375 million to support our innovation and business transformation strategies to become the health and wellness company for pets and pet parents with the capabilities to serve customers when and how they choose to shop. These investments include: digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; data analytical capabilities; veterinary services; marketing and advertising; and our owned brands. Our transformation actions were focused on the following major initiatives and investments:

Assembled a Next Generation Leadership Team to Drive TransformationTwo years ago, we hired Ron Coughlin, who previously ran HP’s $33 billion Personal Systems business as Division President and, prior to that, had a successful career in senior executive roles at PepsiCo and experience with businesses in transition. As Chief Executive Officer, he made multiple senior management hires and changes, adding digital and technology, consumer-packaged goods, marketing, and best-in-class retail experience to the leadership team. These executives bring experience from leading companies, including Best Buy, Walmart, Jet.com, Target, Bank of America, Williams Sonoma, and HP, among others. This highly qualified leadership team has implemented significant operational and cultural change to our business, including a substantial acceleration of our digital capabilities, optimizing the effectiveness of pet care center partners through training, enhanced analytic tools and communication, step changed marketing and customer engagement return on investment, launching a veterinary hospital network, and supporting the scaling of our pet health and wellness offerings.

Built Leading E-Commerce and Digital Capabilities that Leverage our Physical Network. With pet parents increasingly engaging online, we aggressively invested to create a superior e-commerce and app experience to succeed in the market, improving the speed, navigation, personalization, and services access of our website and app. We focused on optimizing site merchandising, market-based pricing, convenient order delivery within two days, and digital sales conversion rate to successfully attract and retain customers, all of which have experienced noticeable growth since the fourth quarter of 2019. We launched a repeat delivery service, which has the highest-rated customer satisfaction in the industry, and provides a revenue stream that increased 13% in fiscal 2019 and 43% in fiscal 2020. To further differentiate and create scale advantages, we leveraged our physical network to roll out key capabilities, including ship-from-store, which grew to over 720 enabled locations as of January 30, 2021, BOPUS, which grew over 225% during fiscal 2020, curbside pick-up, and same day delivery that allow us to meet our customers anywhere they want to shop and provide a significant last-mile fulfilment advantage versus our competition, driven by our distributed inventory and proximity to customers. These efforts have resulted in total e-commerce sales growth of 33% in fiscal 2019 and 103% in fiscal 2020.

Reinvented Grooming and Training, and Launched a Full-Service Veterinary Hospital NetworkPet services represent the most personalized, sticky, high-touch part of the market, which is critical as we focus on acquiring and retaining high-value customers. In grooming, we invested in digital integration, marketing, staff compensation, and other operational improvements, which have resulted in the acquisition of new customers and an increase in groomer retention. In training, we have led with innovation, and in fiscal 2020 we launched online training classes that can be conducted at home. In fiscal 2017, we embarked on one of the fastest veterinary hospital build-outs in the industry and today offer full-service veterinary care at 125 pet care centers, driving both incremental service and merchandise sales, and unlocking the prescription food addressable market. As a result of this reinvention, we have grown our services sales at a CAGR of 8% between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2020.

Created a Highly Differentiated Owned and Exclusive Product OfferingWe offer a highly differentiated owned and exclusive product assortment that engenders strong customer loyalty. We focused on three core product differentiating capabilities: nutritional expertise, exclusive partnerships, and a leading owned brand platform. As a testament to our commitment to pet health and wellness, in May 2019 we made the decision to pivot away from dog and cat food and treats that contain artificial ingredients making us the only major national retailer in the industry to take a stand against artificial ingredients in dog and cat food. We utilized a best brands strategy to form new partnerships with some of the most highly regarded premium food brands in the industry, such as Just Food For Dogs.

In 2019, we leveraged our established owned brand platform and capabilities to launch Reddy, a fashion-driven supplies brand, to complement WholeHearted, our premium food brand. We have grown our owned brand sales at a CAGR of 13% between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2020, and during fiscal 2020, our owned brands generated sales of $1.2 billion, or approximately 27% of total product sales. The combination of our differentiated food and supplies strategy, including owned and exclusive brands, has enabled us to offer a premium product offering, many of which are not available via online or mass competitors.

7


Implemented a Performance Culture Led by Data AnalyticsOur differentiated singular view of the customer across products, services, and channels, in combination with insights from our Pals Rewards loyalty database, provides access to a robust wealth of data. We implemented new capabilities to leverage these data to inform strategic and tactical decision-making across our organization, and ultimately drive higher customer engagement and lifetime value. We created a singular view of our customer to drive everything from marketing decisions and innovation of new products and services to how we operate our pet care centers. In our pet care centers, we have pushed data down to our pet care center General Managers and field leadership teams through advanced sales reporting to enhance decision-making. We developed a user-friendly, action-focused dashboard (HUB), which enables our managers to track performance across multiple dimensions, identify opportunities, and execute strategies to drive incremental sales. We also simplified the key metrics that we utilize to track performance and aligned incentives against those metrics by rolling out a revamped incentive structure across our field organization.

For more information regarding our transformative investments, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Innovation and Transformation.”

Our Comprehensive Offering

Product Offering

We offer a comprehensive product offering consisting of over 58,000 products across pet food, supplies, and companion animals available through our physical and online channels. In fiscal 2020, 51% of our product sales comprised non-discretionary consumable products, such as food and supplements, which feature high purchase frequency over the life of a pet and sticky characteristics due to a strong desire for pet parents to avoid switching food brands. In addition, in fiscal 2020, we generated 27% of our product sales from owned brands—such as WholeHearted, Reddy, and Well & Good. This represents a much higher percentage of our merchandise mix compared to our online competitors, helps the Petco ecosystem attract and retain customers, and also offers us an enhanced margin profile.

Service Offering

We offer a fully-integrated comprehensive service offering that includes professional grooming, training and veterinary services. Unlike some other consumer purchases, the services we offer for pet parents are essential, recurring, and high frequency in nature. In addition to acting as a profitable driver of new customer acquisition, our service platform helps retain customers, drive physical visit frequency and digital engagement, and build long-term loyalty. During fiscal 2020, our services represented approximately 8.2% of sales.

Multi-Channel Platform

We have developed a data-driven go-to-market platform consisting of robust digital capabilities and a strategic physical network of pet care centers woven together by a singular view of the customer.

Digital Capabilities

Our digital capabilities have created a seamless multi-channel experience for our customers who, after downloading the app, spend increasingly more with us as they take advantage of more features offered on our digital platforms.

With repeat delivery, BOPUS, same day delivery, and curbside pick-up capabilities, we have transformed our vast network of pet care centers to double as micro distribution centers, allowing guests to receive products more quickly and conveniently than pet-oriented online-only competitors who offer no option for same day shipping. These capabilities seamlessly link our digital presence with our physical network, which positions us to more effectively serve our customers.

Physical Network

We operate approximately 1,454 pet care centers across the United States and Puerto Rico. Our Petco locations average approximately 13,000 square feet and typically carry 10,000 core SKUs, with nearly all offering grooming and training services, 1,030 offering Vetco clinics, and 125 offering full-service veterinary hospitals. We also operate 96 locations in Mexico through our joint venture with Grupo Gigante.

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Marketing and Advertising

Over the last two years, we have completely overhauled our marketing and media strategy as we established ourselves as a true health and wellness company. The rebirth began with the announcement of Petco’s commitment to eliminate food and treats with artificial ingredients, followed by the removal of human-operated or bark-activated shock collars from our shelves and increased advocacy for, and provision of, free introductory positive dog training classes. We then built a world-class performance marketing capability that has meaningfully accelerated our e-Commerce business growth and positively impacted pet care center sales. This focused investment translated into an over $70 million increase in advertising spend in fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019, and overall advertising expenses, net of cooperative advertising reimbursements, of $168.4 million in fiscal 2020.

Human Capital

Our Partners

Our Petco partners are our most significant assets, critical to the delivery of our transformation and our continued progress. Our pet care center partners offer a level of customer engagement and content that is differentiated in retail and based on a true passion for pets. As of January 30, 2021, we had a total count of approximately 27,081 employees.  Our partners are primarily employed on an at-will basis and are compensated through base salary and incentive programs.

We strive to make Petco a diverse and inclusive workplace and to provide opportunities for our partners to grow and develop in their careers.  We offer competitive compensation and benefits programs, as well as a range of health and wellness offerings, and a partner resource group platform to enable partners to build connections among themselves and their communities.

Health and Safety

The health, safety, and overall well-being of our partners is our top priority.  Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been focused on protecting and supporting our partners, as well as the people and pets in our pet care centers and the communities we serve. We have awarded more than $26 million in additional COVID-19 related payment and appreciation bonuses for our partners.  In addition, the Petco Partner Assistance Fund has provided approximately $1.3 million in financial support to more than 1,300 Petco partners who suffered a hardship related to COVID-19. We have also provided additional days of paid time off to all partners to support those directly affected by COVID-19 for reasons such as: partner infections; self-quarantines; living with or caring for someone at high risk or related dependent care challenges; and wellness days. Once vaccines became available, we announced that all partners who provide confirmation of vaccination will receive a one-time $75 payment, and we will make a $25 donation to the Petco Partner Assistance Fund. We also support scheduling flexibility for vaccination appointments.

Throughout the pandemic, we have taken proactive, precautionary steps to ensure we continue to meet or exceed local, state, and federal regulations as well as recommended health and safety guidelines from the CDC. This includes social distancing, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing protocols, requiring facial coverings for both our partners and customers shopping in our pet care centers, health screening and temperature checks before shifts, and providing ample sanitizer, masks, gloves, acrylic barriers, and more across all Petco locations.

Compensation and Benefits

We provide competitive compensation and benefits programs to help meet the needs of our partners and their families. In addition to base cash compensation, we offer our partners a mix of annual bonuses, restricted stock units, various incentive plans, an Employee Stock Purchase Plan, a 401(k) Plan, healthcare and insurance benefits, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, and a range of employee assistance programs. Partners experienced no increase in their 2020 and 2021 healthcare benefit premiums.  In addition, we offer a range of webinars, trainings, and subscriptions to support our partners’ total wellbeing.

Talent Development 

We invest significant resources to attract, develop, and retain top talent.  Over the past two years, we streamlined methods for setting executional priorities, provided comprehensive sales training, and developed store-level sales marketing capabilities. In fiscal 2020, we are proud to have promoted over 2,750 partners into growth opportunities.

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Partner Communities  

We believe that building and supporting connections between our employees and our communities creates a more fulfilling and enjoyable workplace experience. We have continued to expand our Partner Resource Groups and our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging programs to encourage partners to bring their “whole selves” to work.

Distribution Network

We operate five primary and three regional distribution centers located in various parts of the United States that handle almost all distribution for our company. Our ship-from-store, BOPUS, and curbside programs enhance our distribution network, allowing us to more quickly and cost effectively serve our customers. During fiscal 2020, over 80% of digital orders (including BOPUS, same day delivery and ship-from-store) were fulfilled by pet care centers, which has allowed us to deliver product more quickly and cost-effectively than we otherwise could by using traditional distribution center fulfillment.

Any relationships we have with third-party logistics providers are governed by non-exclusive agreements that do not obligate us to minimum volume or fees, and such agreements may be terminated by either party on 90 days’ prior written notice.

Vendor and Veterinarian Arrangements

We purchase merchandise from over 700 vendors. In fiscal 2020, our top vendors represented approximately 5% of annual sales, and no single vendor accounted for more than 5% of our sales. In addition, we only sell the products we carry directly to consumers and primarily purchase our products directly from our vendors rather than through third-party distributors. As such, we do not rely on third-party distributors to conduct our business. We onboard our vendors using a standardized process to confirm their adherence to our standards, policies, and procedures, including those relating to legal compliance, standard payment terms, and product quality. These relationships are typically governed by our standard vendor terms and conditions, under which we submit purchase orders to our vendors specifying the types, quantities, and agreed prices for merchandise that we intend to purchase from them. These agreements do not typically have minimum order requirements or exclusivity obligations for either party. Our terms and conditions do not have a set term but allow us to terminate the relationship for convenience at any time upon written notice to the vendor. Our vendors may terminate the relationship on 90-days’ written notice but are obligated to perform any purchase order accepted prior to such notice.

Our full-service veterinary hospitals are either operated by us or by third-party veterinary services partners with whom we have long-term contractual relationships. In the hospitals that are operated by our third-party veterinary services partners, we generally provide facilities, equipment, and customer relations management support, while the veterinary services partners provide staffing and run the day-to-day operations of the hospital. The veterinary service partners pay us a royalty based on hospital sales and a license fee to use our space and equipment. Either party can terminate the contractual relationship upon 180-days’ written notice or, as applicable, upon a breach of the contract by us or a violation of the standard operating procedures by the veterinary service partner. Our Vetco clinics are staffed by Vetco personnel, some of whom are independent contractor veterinarians.

Petco Foundation

At the Petco Foundation, a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported both by contributions from us and contributions from our customers and community partners, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, the Petco Foundation has invested more than $290 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through the Think Adoption First program, the Petco Foundation partners with our pet care centers and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. To date, we have helped more than 6.5 million pets find their new loving families.

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Our Trademarks and Other Intellectual Property

We believe that our rights in our intellectual property, including trademarks and domain names, as well as contractual provisions and restrictions on access to our proprietary technology, are important to our marketing efforts to develop brand recognition and differentiate our brand from our competitors. We own a number of trademarks that have been registered, or for which registration applications are pending, in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions. These trademarks include Bond & Co., Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, and You & Me. The current registrations of these trademarks are effective for varying periods of time and may be renewed periodically, provided that we, as the registered owner, or our licensees where applicable, comply with all applicable renewal requirements including, where necessary, the continued use of the trademarks in connection with similar goods. We expect to pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe they would be beneficial and cost-effective.

In addition to trademark protection, we own numerous domain names, including www.petco.com. We also enter into, and rely on, confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements with our employees, consultants, contractors and business partners to protect our trade secrets, proprietary technology, and other confidential information. We further control the use of our proprietary technology and intellectual property through provisions in both our customer terms of use on our website and in our vendor terms and conditions.

Government Regulation

We are subject to a broad range of federal, state, local, and foreign laws and regulations intended to protect public health, natural resources, and the environment. Our operations, including our owned brand manufacturing outsourcing partners, are subject to regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”), the Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”), and by various other federal, state, local, and foreign authorities regarding the processing, packaging, storage, distribution, advertising, labeling, and import of our products, including food safety standards. Please read “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Our operations are subject to extensive governmental regulation, and we may incur material liabilities under, or costs in order to comply with, existing or future laws and regulation. Our failure to comply with such laws and regulations may result in enforcements, recalls, and other adverse actions that could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our financial results.”

The FDA regulates animal feed, including pet food, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, (the “FFDCA”), and its implementing regulations. Although pet foods are not required to obtain premarket approval from the FDA, the FFDCA requires that all animal foods are safe for consumption, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and are truthfully labelled. Most states also require that pet foods distributed in the state be registered or licensed with the appropriate state regulatory agency. In addition, most facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods, including pet foods, must register with the FDA and renew their registration every two years, and are subject to periodic FDA inspection. This includes most foreign, as well as domestic facilities. Registration must occur before the facility begins its pet food manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding operations.

The labeling of pet foods is regulated by both the FDA and some state regulatory authorities. FDA regulations require proper identification of the product, a net quantity statement, a statement of the name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor, and proper listing of all the ingredients in order of predominance by weight. Most states also enforce their own labeling regulations, many of which are based on model definitions and guidelines developed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (the “AAFCO”). The AAFCO is a voluntary, non-governmental membership association of local, state, and federal agencies that are charged with regulation of the sale and distribution of animal feed, including pet foods. The degree of oversight of the implementation of these regulations varies by state, but typically includes a state review and approval of each product label as a condition of sale in that state.

The FDA also regulates the inclusion of specific claims in pet food labeling. For example, pet food products that are labeled or marketed with claims that may suggest that they are intended to treat or prevent disease in pets would potentially meet the statutory definitions of both a food and a drug. The FDA has issued guidance regarding products that provide nutrients in support of an animal’s daily nutrient needs but which are also labeled as being

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intended for use to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease, thereby meeting the statutory definitions of both a food and a drug.

Under Section 423 of the FFDCA, the FDA may require the recall of an animal feed product if there is a reasonable probability that the product is adulterated or misbranded and the use of or exposure to the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. In addition, pet food manufacturers may voluntarily recall or withdraw their products from the market.

Certain states have laws, rules, and regulations that require that veterinary medical practices be either wholly owned or majority owned by licensed veterinarians and that corporations that are not wholly owned or majority owned by licensed veterinarians refrain from providing, or holding themselves out as providers of, veterinary medical care, or directly employing or otherwise exercising control over veterinarians providing such care. In these states and jurisdictions, we provide management and other administrative services to veterinary practices rather than owning such practices or directly employing the veterinarians providing medical care. Although we believe that we have structured our operations to comply with our understanding of the veterinary medicine laws of each state and jurisdiction in which we operate, interpretive legal precedent and regulatory guidance varies by jurisdiction and is often sparse and not fully developed.

In addition, all of the states in which we operate impose various registration permit and/or licensing requirements. To fulfill these requirements, we have registered each of our facilities with appropriate governmental agencies and, where required, have appointed a licensed veterinarian to act on behalf of each facility. All veterinarians practicing in our animal wellness centers are required to maintain valid state licenses to practice and veterinarians practicing in our full-service hospitals are required to maintain valid licenses with the DEA. We are also required to comply with state laws governing the dispensing of prescription pet medications by our veterinarians. Additionally, our pet insurance plans must be registered with certain state departments of insurance and comply with their requirements.

Available Information

Our website address is www.petco.com, and our investor relations website is ir.petco.com. We promptly make available on our investor relations website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the SEC, corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics) and select press releases. We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy and information statements and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a), 14, and 15(d) of the Exchange Act. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding Petco and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

You should carefully consider the risks described below with all of the other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Further, the risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also materially affect our business. If any of the following risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In that case, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment. For a summary of these risks, please read “Risk Factor Summary,” which immediately precedes Part I, Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Risks Related to Our Business

A decline in consumer spending or a change in consumer preferences or demographics could reduce our sales or profitability and adversely affect our business.

Our sales depend on consumer spending, which is influenced by factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions, disruption or volatility in global financial markets, changes in interest rates, the availability of discretionary income and credit, weather, consumer confidence, unemployment levels, and government orders restricting freedom of movement. We may experience declines in sales or changes in the types of products and services sold during economic downturns. Our business could be harmed by any material decline in the amount of consumer spending, which could reduce our sales, or a decrease in the sales of higher-margin products, which could reduce our profitability and adversely affect our business.

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We have also benefited from increasing pet ownership, discretionary spending on pets and current trends in humanization and premiumization in the pet industry, as well as favorable pet ownership demographics. To the extent these trends slow or reverse, our sales and profitability would be adversely affected. In particular, COVID-19 has driven an increase in pet ownership and consumer demand for our products that may not be sustained or may reverse at any time. The success of our business depends in part on our ability to identify and respond to evolving trends in demographics and consumer preferences. Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer tastes, preferences, spending patterns and pet care needs could adversely affect our relationship with our customers, the demand for our products and services, our market share and our profitability.

The growth of our business depends in part on our ability to accurately predict consumer trends, successfully introduce new products and services, improve existing products and services, and expand into new offerings.

Our growth depends, in part, on our ability to successfully introduce, improve, and reposition our products and services to meet the requirements of pet parents. This, in turn, depends on our ability to predict and respond to evolving consumer trends, demands and preferences. Our ability to innovate is affected by the technical capability of our product development staff and third-party consultants in developing and testing new products, including complying with governmental regulations, our attractiveness as a partner for outside research and development scientists and entrepreneurs, the success of our management and sales team in introducing and marketing new products and service offerings, and our ability to leverage our digital and data capabilities to gather and respond to consumer feedback.

We may be unable to determine with accuracy when or whether any of our products or services now under development will be launched, and we may be unable to develop or otherwise acquire product candidates or products. Additionally, we cannot predict whether any such products or services, once launched, will be commercially successful. If we are unable to successfully develop or otherwise acquire new products or services, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Our continued success is substantially dependent on positive perceptions of Petco, including our owned or exclusive brands.

We believe that one of the reasons our customers prefer to shop at Petco, and that our partners choose Petco as a place of employment, is the reputation we have built over many years of serving our primary constituencies: customers; partners; and the communities in which we operate. These are core elements of the Petco mission and brand. To be successful in the future, we must continue to preserve, grow, and leverage the value of our reputation and our brand. Reputational value is based in large part on perceptions of subjective qualities, and even isolated incidents that erode trust and confidence, particularly if they result in adverse publicity or widespread reaction on social media, governmental investigations, or litigation, can have an adverse impact on these perceptions and lead to adverse effects on our business, including decreased comparable sales, consumer boycotts, loss of new pet care center development opportunities, lower partner morale and productivity, or partner recruiting and retention difficulties.

In addition, we sell many products under our owned or private label brands. Maintaining consistent product quality, competitive pricing, and availability of our branded products for our customers is essential to developing and maintaining customer loyalty and brand awareness. These products often have higher margins than national brand products. If one or more of these brands experience a loss of consumer acceptance or confidence, our sales and gross margin could be adversely affected.

Competition in the markets in which we operate, including internet-based competition, is strong and if we are unable to compete effectively, our ability to generate sales may suffer and our operating income and net income could decline.

The pet care industry is highly competitive. We compete with a number of specialty pet store chains and independent pet stores. We also compete with online retailers, supermarkets, warehouse clubs and mass merchants. The pet care industry has become increasingly competitive due to the expansion of pet-related product offerings by certain supermarkets, warehouse clubs, other retail merchandisers, and online retailers, and the entrance of additional independent pet stores with unique product offerings and other pet specialty retailers into the pet food and pet supply market, some of which have developed store formats similar to ours. Some competitors are larger and have access to greater capital and the ability to invest in more resources than we do.

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We may face greater competition from national, regional, local and online retailers in the future. In particular, if any of our major competitors seeks to gain or retain market share by reducing prices or by introducing additional products or services, we may be required to reduce prices on our key products or services or introduce new offerings in order to remain competitive, which may negatively affect our profitability and require a change in our operating strategies.

If consumer preferences change and thereby decrease the attractiveness of what we believe to be our competitive advantages, including our extensive product assortment, premium product offerings, competitive pricing, high-quality service offerings, and a unique customer experience, or if we fail to otherwise positively differentiate our customer experience from that of our competitors, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may be unable to execute our growth strategies successfully or manage and sustain our growth, and as a result, our business may be adversely affected.

Our strategies include expanding our veterinary service offerings and building out our digital and data capabilities, growing our market share in services like grooming and training, enhancing our owned brand portfolio, and introducing new offerings to better connect with our customers. However, we may not be able to execute on these strategies as effectively as anticipated. Our ability to execute on these strategies depends on a number of factors, including:

 

whether we have adequate capital resources to expand our offerings and build out our digital and data capabilities;

 

our ability to include veterinary services in our existing pet care centers or in our remodeled or relocated pet care centers;

 

our ability to relocate our pet care centers and obtain favorable sites and negotiate acceptable lease terms;

 

our ability to hire, train, and retain skilled managers and personnel, including veterinarians, information technology professionals, owned brand merchants, and groomers and trainers; and

 

our ability to continue to upgrade our information and other operating systems and to make use of the data that we collect through these systems to offer better products and services to our customers.

Our existing locations may not maintain their current levels of sales and profitability, and our growth strategies may not generate sales levels necessary to achieve pet care center level profitability comparable to that of our existing locations. To the extent that we are unable to execute on our growth strategies in accordance with our expectations, our sales growth would come primarily from the organic growth of existing product and service offerings.

We may experience difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled veterinarians due to shortages that could disrupt our business.

The successful growth of our veterinary services business depends on our ability to recruit and retain skilled veterinarians and other veterinary technical staff. We face competition from other veterinary service providers in the labor market for veterinarians, and from time to time, we may experience shortages of skilled veterinarians in markets in which we operate our veterinary service businesses, which may require us or our affiliated veterinary practices to increase wages and enhance benefits to recruit and retain enough qualified veterinarians to adequately staff our veterinary services operations. If we are unable to recruit and retain qualified veterinarians, or to control our labor costs, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We face various risks as an e-commerce retailer.

As part of our growth strategy, we seek to further integrate our in-store and online operations and have made significant investments to integrate and grow our e-commerce business. We may require additional capital in the future to sustain or grow our e-commerce business. Business risks related to our e-commerce business include our inability to keep pace with rapid technological change, failure in our security procedures or operational controls, failure or inadequacy in our systems or labor resource levels to effectively process customer orders in a timely manner, government regulation and legal uncertainties with respect to e-commerce, and collection of sales or other taxes by one or more states or foreign jurisdictions. If any of these risks materialize, they could have an adverse effect on our business.

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In some circumstances, increased transactions through our website may result in reduced customer traffic in our pet care centers, particularly as customers take advantage of home delivery services available for online orders when making certain types of purchases, such as for bulk orders or heavy pet products. There is a risk that any such reduced customer traffic may reduce the sales of certain products and services in our pet care centers. The availability of free shipping of online and “extended aisle” orders increases our costs and could adversely affect our profitability.

In addition, as other internet retailers have increased market share in recent years, we have faced increased competition, and may continue to face increased competition in the future, from internet retailers who enter the market. Our failure to positively differentiate our product and services offerings or customer experience from these internet retailers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to generate or obtain sufficient capital to finance our growth strategies, we may be unable to sustain our growth and our business may be adversely affected.

Our growth rate depends, to a large degree, on the availability of adequate capital to fund the expansion of our offerings, including veterinary services and digital capabilities, which in turn will depend in large part on cash flow generated by our business and the availability of equity and debt capital. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain sufficient cash flow or obtain sufficient equity or debt capital on acceptable terms, or at all, to support our expansion plans.

Moreover, the credit agreements governing the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility contain provisions that restrict the amount of debt we may incur in the future, and certain other covenants that may restrict or impair our growth plans. If we are not successful in generating or obtaining sufficient capital, we may be unable to invest in our growth, which may adversely affect our results of operations.

We depend on key personnel, and if we lose the services of any of our principal executive officers, we may not be able to run our business effectively.

We are dependent upon the efforts of our principal executive officers. The loss of any of our principal executive officers could affect our ability to run our business effectively. Our success will depend on our ability to retain our current management and to attract and retain qualified personnel in the future. Competition for senior management personnel is intense, and we cannot assure you that we can retain our personnel. The loss of a member of senior management requires the remaining executive officers to divert immediate and substantial attention to seeking a replacement. The inability to fill vacancies in our senior executive positions on a timely basis could adversely affect our ability to implement our business strategy, which would negatively impact our results of operations.

The loss of any of our key merchandise vendors, or of any of our exclusive distribution arrangements with certain of our vendors, could negatively impact our business.

We purchase significant amounts of products from a number of vendors with limited supply capabilities. There can be no assurance that our current pet food or supply vendors will be able to accommodate our anticipated growth and expansion of our locations and e-commerce business. As a result of the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, some of our existing vendors have not been able to supply us with products in a timely or cost-effective manner. While we believe these disruptions to be temporary, a continued inability of our existing vendors to provide products or other product supply disruptions that may occur in the future could impair our business, financial condition, and results of operations. To date, vendor-related supply challenges have not had a material effect on our business or our sales and profitability. We do not maintain long-term supply contracts with any of our merchandise vendors. Any vendor could discontinue selling to us at any time. Although we do not materially rely on any particular vendor, the loss of any of our significant vendors of pet food, particularly premium pet food, or pet supplies that we offer could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We continually seek to expand our base of pet food and supply vendors and to identify new pet products. If we are unable to identify or enter into distribution relationships with new vendors or to replace the loss of any of our existing vendors, we may experience a competitive disadvantage, our business may be disrupted, and our results of operations may be adversely affected.

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Most of the premium pet food brands that we purchase are not widely carried in supermarkets, warehouse clubs, or mass merchants. If any premium pet food manufacturers were to make premium pet food products widely available in supermarkets or through mass merchants, or if the premium brands currently available to supermarkets and mass merchants were to increase their market share at the expense of the premium brands sold only through specialty pet food and supplies retailers, our ability to attract and retain customers or our competitive position may suffer. Further, if supermarkets, warehouse clubs, or mass merchants begin offering any of these premium pet food brands at lower prices, our sales and gross margin could be adversely affected.

Several of the pet food brands and product lines we currently purchase and offer for sale to our customers are not offered by our closest pet specialty competitor. However, in most cases, we have not entered into formal exclusivity agreements with the vendors for such brands. In the event these vendors choose to enter into distribution arrangements with other specialty pet retailers or other competitors our sales could suffer and our business could be adversely affected.

Our principal vendors currently provide us with certain incentives such as volume purchasing, trade discounts, cooperative advertising, and market development funds. A reduction or discontinuance of these incentives would increase our costs and could reduce our profitability.

We face various risks related to health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

Our business and financial results have been, and could be in the future, adversely affected by health epidemics, pandemics, and similar outbreaks. The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and continues to spread in the United States and in many other countries globally. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reduced operations in many of our pet care centers, which decreased our pet care center revenues. Despite our efforts to manage these matters, their ultimate effects also depend on factors beyond our knowledge or control, including the duration, severity, and recurrence of any outbreak and actions taken to contain its spread and mitigate its public health effects. The pandemic may continue to adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows, including by resulting in (i) significant volatility in demand for our products and services, (ii) changes in consumer behavior and preferences, (iii) disruptions of our manufacturing and supply chain operations, (iv) disruption of our cost saving programs and restructuring initiatives, (v) limitations on our employees’ ability to work and travel, and (vi) changes to economic or political conditions in markets in which we operate.

As a result of COVID-19, many of our personnel are working remotely, and it is possible that this could have a negative impact on the execution of our business plans and operations. If a natural disaster, power outage, connectivity issue, or other event occurred that impacted our employees’ ability to work remotely, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible, for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. The increase in remote working may also result in consumer privacy, IT security, and fraud concerns as well as increase our exposure to potential wage and hour issues.

Further, as a result of COVID-19, the operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers have been, and could be in the future, substantially disrupted by federal or state mandates ordering shutdowns of non-essential services or by the inability of our employees to travel to work. Our expansion plans for pet care centers, veterinary services, and distribution centers may also be delayed by or become costlier due to the continuing spread of COVID-19. Disruptions to the operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers and delays or increased costs in the expansion of our pet care center or distribution center capacity may negatively impact our financial performance and slow our future growth.

The uncertainty around the duration of business disruptions and the extent of the spread of the virus in the United States and to other areas of the world will likely continue to adversely impact the national or global economy and negatively impact consumer spending. Any of these outcomes could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and ability to execute and capitalize on our strategies. The full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our operations and financial performance depends on future developments that are uncertain and unpredictable, including the duration and spread of the pandemic, any long-term health impacts on any partners who have been infected with COVID-19, its impact on capital and financial markets, and any new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the virus and its spread to other regions, as well as the actions taken to contain it, among others.

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In the weeks leading up to stay-at-home conditions in March and April 2020, consumer demand for our products, specifically essential pet food, surged. During this surge, we could not fulfill demand for all of our product orders. If such surges outpace our capacity build or occur at unexpected times, we may be unable to fully meet our customers’ demands for our products. Further, it is unknown what impact a subsequent wave” of outbreaks in 2021 or beyond could have on our operations and workforce. Such impacts could include effects on our business and operations from additional government restrictions on travel, shipping, and workforce activities, including stay-at-home orders.

A disruption, malfunction, or increased costs in the operation, expansion, or replenishment of our distribution centers or our supply chain would affect our ability to deliver to our locations and e-commerce customers or increase our expenses, which could harm our sales and profitability.

Our vendors generally ship merchandise to one or more of our distribution centers, which receive and allocate merchandise to our locations and e-commerce customers. The success of our pet care centers depends on their timely receipt of merchandise. If any shipped merchandise were to be delayed because of the impact of weather on transnational shipping, particularly from our vendors in Asia, our operations would likely be significantly disrupted. Disruption to shipping and transportation channels due to slowdowns or work stoppages at ports on the West Coast of the United States have occurred in the past, and to the extent they occur in the future, could cause us to rely more heavily on airfreight to achieve timely delivery to our customers, resulting in significantly higher freight costs. We may not be able to pass all or any portion of these higher costs on to our customers or adjust our pricing structure in a timely manner in order to remain competitive, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We have faced labor shortages at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, which has adversely affected our results of operations. If any of our distribution centers were to shut down, continue to suffer substantial labor shortages, or lose significant capacity for any reason, our operations would likely be significantly disrupted. We compete with other retailers for the supply of personnel to staff our distribution centers, some of whom are larger than us and have access to greater capital resources than we do. If we are unable to successfully recruit and retain personnel to staff our distribution centers, we may face labor shortages or be forced to increase wages and enhance benefits for such personnel, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, any interruption or malfunction in our distribution operations, including, but not limited to, the loss of a key vendor that provides transportation of merchandise to or from our distribution centers, or regulatory issues with respect to any of our distribution centers, could adversely affect our sales and results of operations. An interruption in our inventory supply chain could result in out-of-stock or excess merchandise inventory levels or adversely affect our ability to make timely deliveries to e-commerce customers, and could adversely affect our sales and results of operations.

We occasionally seek to grow our business through acquisitions of or investments in new or complementary businesses, products, or services, or through strategic ventures, and the failure to successfully identify these opportunities, manage and integrate these acquisitions, investments, or alliances, or to achieve an adequate return on these investments, could have an adverse effect on us.

The pet care industry is highly fragmented. We have completed acquisitions in the past and may pursue expansion and acquisition opportunities in the future. If we are unable to manage acquisitions, investments, or strategic ventures, or integrate any acquired businesses, services, or technologies effectively, we may not realize the expected benefits from the transaction relative to the consideration paid, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected. To be successful, the integration process requires us to achieve the benefits of combining the companies, including generating operating efficiencies and synergies and eliminating or reducing redundant costs. This integration process involves inherent uncertainties, and we cannot assure you that the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions will be fully realized without incurring unanticipated costs or diverting management’s attention from our core operations.

From time to time we also make strategic investments. These investments typically involve many of the same risks posed by acquisitions, particularly those risks associated with the diversion of our resources, the inability of the new venture to generate sufficient revenues, the management of relationships with third parties, and potential expenses. Strategic ventures have the added risk that the other strategic venture partners may have economic, business, or legal interests or objectives that are inconsistent with our interests and objectives.

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Further, we may be unsuccessful in identifying and evaluating business, legal, or financial risks as part of the due diligence process associated with a particular transaction. In addition, some investments may result in the incurrence of debt or may have contingent consideration components that may require us to pay additional amounts in the future in relation to future performance results of the subject business. If we do enter into agreements with respect to these transactions, we may fail to complete them due to factors such as failure to obtain regulatory or other approvals. We may be unable to realize the full benefits from these transactions, such as increased net sales or enhanced efficiencies, within the timeframes that we expect or at all. These events could divert attention from our other businesses and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any future acquisitions also could result in potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the incurrence of additional debt, or the assumption of contingent liabilities.

Our reputation and business may be harmed if our or our vendors’ computer network security or any of the databases containing customer, employee, or other personal information maintained by us or our third-party providers is compromised, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

We collect, store, and transmit proprietary or confidential information regarding our customers, employees, job applicants, and others, including credit card information and personally identifiable information. We also collect, store, and transmit employees’ health information in order to administer employee benefits; accommodate disabilities and injuries; to comply with public health requirements; and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The protection of customer, employee, and company data in the information technology systems we use (including those maintained by third-party providers) is critical. In the normal course of business, we are and have been the target of malicious cyber-attack attempts and have experienced other security incidents. For example, in September 2020, we discovered malware designed to illegally access our customers’ credit card information had been installed on the website of one of our business units. We engaged a cybersecurity firm to assist us in launching an investigation, and took steps to remediate the breach, including shutting down the impacted systems to prevent unauthorized access to customer data. Our investigation revealed that customers’ personal information exposed in this incident included names, email addresses, addresses, credit card numbers, credit card expiration dates, credit card CVV codes, and account passwords. We notified state regulators and the affected individuals. In November and December 2020, certain plaintiffs filed lawsuits against us in the United States District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California in connection with this incident on behalf of themselves and putative class members, claiming violations of various provisions of California and Washington law and asserting other common law causes of action. Our evaluation of these lawsuits is ongoing.

While to date, we do not believe such identified security events have been material or significant to us, including to our reputation or business operations, or had a material financial impact, we cannot assure you that such incidents or future cyber-attacks will not expose us to material liability. Security could be compromised and confidential information, such as customer credit card numbers, employee information, or other personally identifiable information that we or our vendors collect, transmit, or store, could be misappropriated or system disruptions could occur. In addition, cyber-attacks such as ransomware attacks could lock us out of our information systems and disrupt our operations. We may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent rapidly evolving types of cyber-attacks. Attacks may be targeted at us, our customers, our employees, or others who have entrusted us with information. Actual or anticipated attacks may cause us to incur increasing costs, including costs to deploy additional personnel and protection technologies, train employees, and engage third-party experts and consultants. Advances in computer capabilities, new technological discoveries, or other developments may result in the breach or compromise of the technology used by us to protect transactions or other sensitive data. In addition, data and security breaches could also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including intentional or inadvertent breach by our employees or by persons with whom we have commercial relationships, that result in the unauthorized release of personal or confidential information. Any compromise or breach of our or our vendors’ computer network security could result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, costly investigations, litigation, including class actions, and notification, as well as potential regulatory or other actions by governmental agencies and harm to our brand, business, and results of operations. As a result of any of the foregoing, we could experience adverse publicity, loss of sales, the cost of remedial measures and significant expenditures to reimburse third parties for damages, which could adversely impact our results of operations. Any insurance we maintain against the risk of this type of loss may not be sufficient to cover actual losses or may not apply to the circumstances relating to any particular loss.

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The techniques used by criminals to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive data change frequently and often cannot be recognized until launched against a target. Accordingly, we or our vendors may not be able to anticipate these frequently changing techniques or implement adequate preventive measures for all of them. Failure by us or our vendors to comply with data security requirements, including the CCPA’s new “reasonable security” requirement in light of the private right of action, or rectify a security issue may result in class action litigation, fines and the imposition of restrictions on our ability to accept payment cards, which could adversely affect our operations. We cannot assure you that we or our vendors will be able to satisfy the PCI data security standards. In addition, PCI is controlled by a limited number of vendors that have the ability to impose changes in fee structures and operational requirements without negotiation. Such changes in fees and operational requirements may result in our failure to comply with PCI security standards, as well as significant unanticipated expenses. Any unauthorized access into our customers’ sensitive information, or other data handled by or on behalf of us, even if we are compliant with industry security standards, could put us at a competitive disadvantage, result in deterioration of our customers’ confidence in us, and subject us to potential litigation, liability, fines, and penalties and consent decrees, which could require us to expend significant resources related to remediation or result in a disruption of our operations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If our information systems or infrastructure or those of our vendors fail to perform as designed or are interrupted for a significant period of time, our business could be adversely affected.

The efficient operation of our business is dependent on our information systems and those of our vendors. In particular, we rely on our information systems to effectively manage our financial and operational data, to maintain our in-stock positions, and to transact the sale of our products in our pet care centers. The failure of our information systems or those of our vendors to perform as designed, the loss of data, or any interruption of our information systems or those of our vendors for a significant period of time could disrupt our business.

Our operations also depend on our ability to maintain and protect the computer systems we use to manage our purchase orders, pet care center inventory levels, web applications, accounting functions, and other critical aspects of our business. Our systems and those of our vendors are vulnerable to damage from fire, floods, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, terrorist and cyber-attacks, and similar events. Our disaster recovery planning and those of our vendors may not be sufficient to adequately respond to any such events. In addition, we may have inadequate insurance coverage to compensate for any related losses and expenses. Any of these events could damage our reputation, disrupt our business, and be expensive to remedy.

We continue to invest in our information systems and IT infrastructure. Enhancement to or replacement of our major financial or operational information systems could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct our business operations and increase our risk of loss resulting from disruptions of normal operating processes and procedures that may occur during the implementation of new information systems. It may also require us to divest resources to ensure that implementation is successful. We can make no assurances that the costs of investments in our information systems will not exceed estimates, that the systems will be implemented without material disruption, or that the systems will be as beneficial as predicted. If any of these events occur, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Negative publicity arising from claims that we do not properly care for animals we handle or sell could adversely affect how we are perceived by the public and reduce our sales and profitability.

From time to time we receive claims or complaints alleging that we do not properly care for some of the pets we handle or for companion animals we handle and sell, which may include dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and other small animals. Deaths or injuries sometimes occur while animals are in our care. As a result, we may be subject to claims that our animal care practices, including grooming, training, veterinary, and other services, or the related training of our associates, do not provide the proper level of care. Our efforts to establish our reputation as a “health and wellness” company increase the risk of claims or complaints regarding our practices. Any such claims or complaints, as well as any related news reports or reports on social media, even if inaccurate or untrue, could cause negative publicity, which in turn could harm our business and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

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Our international operations and evolving foreign trade policy may result in additional market risks, which may adversely affect our business.

As our international operations grow, they may require greater management and financial resources. International operations require the integration of personnel with varying cultural and business backgrounds and an understanding of the relevant differences in the cultural, legal, and regulatory environments. Our results may be increasingly affected by the risks of our international activities, including:

 

challenges anticipating or responding to the impact that local culture and market forces may have on local consumer preferences and trends;

 

fluctuations in currency exchanges rates;

 

changes in international staffing and employment issues;

 

the imposition of taxes, duties, tariffs, or other trade barriers;

 

shipping delays, such as the recent slowdown or work stoppage at ports on the West Coast, or customs delays;

 

greater difficulty in utilizing and enforcing our intellectual property rights;

 

the burden of complying with foreign laws, including regulatory regimes, tax laws, privacy laws, and financial accounting standards;

 

political and economic instability and developments;

 

issues or disputes arising with our joint venture partners, if any, in such operations; and

 

the risk that COVID-19 spreads widely in any country where we have significant employee presence, facilities, or critical operations, thereby impairing our ability to manage day-to-day operations and service our customers, increasing our costs of operations, and resulting in potential losses in revenue.

Moreover, certain policies and statements of the former President of the United States and senior administration officials have given rise to uncertainty regarding the future of international trade agreements and the United States’ position on international trade. For example, the U.S. government had threatened to undertake a number of actions relating to trade with Mexico, including the closure of the border and the imposition of escalating tariffs on goods imported into the United States from Mexico. It remains unclear what additional actions, if any, the current U.S. administration will take with respect to trade relationships. Additional trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, embargoes, safeguards, and customs restrictions, could increase the cost or reduce the supply of products available to us and to our vendors based in the United States and may require us to modify our supply chain organization or other current business practices, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our products are sourced from a wide variety of vendors, including from vendors overseas, particularly in China. In addition, some of the products that we purchase from vendors in the United States also depend, in whole or in part, on vendors located outside the U.S. In 2018 and 2019, the United States imposed significant tariffs on various products imported from China, including certain products we source from China. The United States has also stated that further tariffs may be imposed on additional products imported from China if a trade agreement is not reached. On January 15, 2020, a “phase one” trade deal was signed between the United States and China and was accompanied by a decision from the United States to cancel a plan to increase tariffs on an additional list of Chinese products. However, given the limited scope of the phase one agreement, concerns over the stability of bilateral trade relations remain. At this time, we cannot assure you that a broader trade agreement will be successfully negotiated between the United States and China to reduce or eliminate the existing tariffs.

If additional tariffs are imposed on our products, or other retaliatory trade measures are taken, our costs could increase and we may be required to raise our prices. Further, efforts to mitigate this tariff risk, including a shift of production to places outside of China, could result in increased costs and disruption to our operations. These potential outcomes could result in the loss of customers and adversely affect our operating performance. To mitigate tariff risks with China, we may also seek to shift production outside of China, which could result in increased costs and disruption to our operations.

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Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate due to the timing of expenses, new pet care center openings, pet care center closures, and other factors.

Our expansion plans, including the timing of new and remodeled pet care centers and veterinary hospitals, and related pre-opening costs, the amount of net sales contributed by new and existing pet care centers, and the timing of and estimated costs associated with pet care center closings or relocations, may cause our quarterly results of operations to fluctuate. Further, new pet care centers and service offerings tend to experience higher payroll, advertising and other store-level expenses as a percentage of net sales than more mature pet care centers, and such openings also often contribute to lower pet care center operating margins until those pet care centers become established, which may result in quarterly fluctuations in operating results. Quarterly operating results are not necessarily accurate predictors of performance.

Quarterly operating results may also vary depending on a number of factors, many of which are outside our control, including:

 

changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;

 

our sales and channels mix and the relevant gross margins of the products and services sold;

 

the hiring and retention of key personnel;

 

wage and cost pressures;

 

changes in fuel prices or electrical rates;

 

costs related to acquisitions of businesses; and

 

general economic factors.

Pet food safety, quality, and health concerns could adversely affect our business.

We could be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in the safety and quality of our owned brand or vendor-supplied pet food products and supplies. Adverse publicity about these types of concerns, whether valid or not, may discourage consumers from buying the products in our locations or cause vendor production and delivery disruptions. The actual or perceived sale of contaminated pet food products by our vendors or us could result in product liability claims against our vendors or us and a loss of consumer confidence, which could have an adverse effect on our sales and operations. In addition, if our products are alleged to pose a risk of injury or illness, or if they are alleged to have been mislabeled, misbranded, or adulterated, or to otherwise be in violation of governmental regulations, we may need to find alternate ingredients for our products, delay production of our products, or discard or otherwise dispose of our products, which could adversely affect our results of operations. If this occurs after the affected product has been distributed, we may need to withdraw or recall the affected product. Given the difficulty in converting pet food customers, if we lose customers due to a loss of confidence in safety or quality, it may be difficult to reacquire such customers.

Restrictions imposed in reaction to outbreaks of animal diseases or COVID-19 could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If animal diseases, such as mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, or highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as “bird flu,” impact the availability of the protein-based ingredients our vendors use in products, our vendors may be required to locate alternative sources for protein-based ingredients. Those sources may not be available to sustain our sales volumes, may be costlier, and may affect the quality and nutritional value of our products. If outbreaks of mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, bird flu, or any other animal disease, or the regulation or publicity resulting therefrom impacts the cost of the protein-based ingredients we have in our products, or the cost of the alternative protein-based ingredients necessary for our products as compared to our current costs, we may be required to increase the selling price of our products to avoid margin deterioration. However, we may not be able to charge higher prices for our products without negatively impacting future sales volumes.

As a result of the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, some manufacturers of pork and other protein-based ingredients we use in our products were forced to shut down processing plants or take other adverse actions. While our supply chain was not disrupted, similar disruptions in the future due to COVID-19 or other outbreaks could potentially limit the supply of or increase prices for certain of meat proteins used in our pet food products, adversely affecting our business and results of operations.

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Fluctuations in the prices and availability of certain commodities, such as rawhide, grains, and meat protein, could materially adversely affect our operating results.

The pet food and supplies industry is subject to risks related to increases in the price of and the availability of certain commodities used in the production of certain pet food and other pet-related products, specifically seed, wheat, and rice, as well as other materials such as rawhide, that are used in certain pet accessories. Additionally, increased human consumption or population increases may potentially limit the supply of or increase prices for certain meat proteins used in animal feed. Historically, in circumstances where these price increases have resulted in our manufacturers or vendors increasing the costs we pay for our food products, we have been able to pass these increases on to customers. However, our ability to pass on increased purchase costs in the future will be significantly impacted by market conditions and competitive factors. If we are unable to pass on any increased purchase costs to customers, we may experience reduced margins, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our real estate leases generally obligate us for long periods, which subjects us to various financial risks.

We lease virtually all of our pet care center and distribution center locations generally for long terms. While we have the right to terminate some of our leases under specified conditions by making specified payments, we may not be able to terminate a particular lease if or when we would like to do so. If we decide to close pet care centers, we are generally required to continue paying rent and operating expenses for the balance of the lease term, or to pay to exercise rights to terminate, and the performance of any of these obligations may be expensive. When we assign or sublease vacated locations, we may remain liable for the lease obligations if the assignee or sublessee does not perform. In addition, when leases for the pet care centers in our ongoing operations expire, we may be unable to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms, or at all, which could cause us to close pet care centers. Accordingly, we are subject to the risks associated with leasing real estate, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Further, the success of our pet care centers depends on a number of factors including the sustained success of the shopping center where the pet care center is located, consumer demographics, and consumer shopping habits and patterns. Changes in consumer shopping habits and patterns, reduced customer traffic in the shopping centers where our pet care centers are located, financial difficulties of our landlords, anchor tenants, or a significant number of other retailers, and shopping center vacancies or closures could impact the profitability of our pet care centers and increase the likelihood that our landlords fail to fulfill their obligations and conditions under our lease agreements. While we have certain remedies and protections under our lease agreements, the loss of business that could result if a shopping center should close or if customer traffic were to significantly decline as a result of lost tenants or improper care of the facilities or due to macroeconomic effects, including the impact of COVID-19, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

Changes in laws, accounting standards, and subjective assumptions, estimates, and judgments by management related to complex accounting matters could significantly affect our financial results.

Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines, and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters relevant to our business are highly complex, continually evolving, and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates, and judgments by us. Changes in these rules or their interpretation, or changes in facts, underlying assumptions, estimates, or judgments by us could significantly impact our reported or expected financial performance.

Failure to attract and retain quality sales associates and experienced management personnel could adversely affect our performance.

Our performance depends on recruiting, developing, training, and retaining partners who are capable sales associates in large numbers and experienced management personnel. Our ability to meet our labor needs while controlling labor costs is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, minimum wage legislation, changing demographics, health and other insurance costs, and governmental labor and employment requirements. We have faced labor shortages and increased wage competition at several of our distribution centers due to factors directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, which has adversely affected our results of operations. Recently, various legislative movements have sought to increase the federal minimum wage in the United States and the minimum wage in a number of individual states, some of which have been successful at the state level. As federal or state minimum wage rates increase, we may need to increase not only the wage rates of our minimum wage partners but also the wages paid to our other hourly partners. In the event of increasing wage rates, if we fail to increase our wages competitively, the quality of our workforce could decline, causing our customer service to suffer, while increasing our wages could cause our earnings to decrease. If we do not continue to attract, train, and retain quality associates and management personnel, our performance could be adversely affected.

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Labor disputes may have an adverse effect on our operations.

We are not currently party to a collective bargaining agreement with any of our employees. If we were to experience a union organizing campaign, this activity could be disruptive to our operations. We cannot assure you that some or all of our employees will not become covered by a collective bargaining agreement or that we will not encounter labor conflicts or strikes. In addition, organized labor may benefit from new legislation or legal interpretations by the current presidential administration. Particularly, in light of current support for changes to federal and state labor laws, we cannot provide any assurance that we will not experience additional and more successful union organization activity in the future. Any labor disruptions could have an adverse effect on our business or results of operations and could cause us to lose customers.

Claims under our insurance plans and policies may differ from our estimates, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

We use a combination of insurance and self-insurance plans to provide for potential liabilities for workers’ compensation, general liability, business interruption, property and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, vehicle liability, and employee health-care benefits. Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient, and any insurance proceeds may not be timely paid to us. In addition, liabilities associated with the risks that are retained by us are estimated, in part, by considering historical claims experience, demographic factors, severity factors, and other actuarial assumptions, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected if these assumptions are incorrect.

Resistance from veterinarians to authorize prescriptions or attempts/efforts on their part to discourage pet owners from purchasing from us could cause our sales to decrease and could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

The laws and regulations relating to the sale and delivery of prescription pet medications vary from state to state, but generally require that prescription pet medications be dispensed with authorization from a prescribing veterinarian. Some veterinarians may decide to resist providing our customers with a copy of their pet’s prescription or resist authorizing the prescription to the pharmacy staff of our fulfillment vendor, thereby effectively preventing us from filling such prescriptions under applicable law. Certain veterinarians may decide to discourage pet owners from purchasing from internet mail order pharmacies. If the number of veterinarians who refuse to authorize prescriptions to the pharmacy staff of our fulfillment vendor increases, or if veterinarians are successful in discouraging pet owners from purchasing from us, our sales could decrease and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Our results may be adversely affected by serious disruptions or catastrophic events, including public health issues, geopolitical events, and weather.

Geopolitical events, such as war or civil unrest in a country in which our vendors are located, or terrorist or military activities disrupting transportation, communication, or utility systems, local protests, and unrest and natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and other adverse weather and climate conditions, whether occurring in the United States or abroad, particularly during peak seasonal periods, could disrupt our operations or the operations of one or more of our vendors, or could severely damage or destroy one or more of our pet care centers or distribution centers located in the affected areas. For example, day-to-day operations, particularly our ability to receive products from our vendors or transport products to our pet care centers, could be adversely affected, or we could be required to close pet care centers or distribution centers in the affected areas or in areas served by the affected distribution center. These factors could also cause consumer confidence and spending to decrease or result in increased volatility in the United States and global financial markets and economy. These or other occurrences could significantly impact our operating results and financial performance.

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Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters

Our operations are subject to extensive governmental regulation, and we may incur material liabilities under, or costs in order to comply with, existing or future laws and regulations. Our failure to comply with such laws and regulations may result in enforcements, recalls, and other adverse actions that could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our financial results.

Our operations, including some of our vendors, are subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations established by the OSHA, the FDA, the USDA, the DEA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, and by various other federal, state, local, and foreign authorities. These laws and regulations govern, among other things, our relationships with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, terms and conditions of employment, working conditions, and citizenship requirements; the weights and measures of our products; the manufacturing and distribution of foods, drugs, and controlled substances intended for animal use; our businesses that provide veterinary services and pet insurance plans; the transportation, handling, and sale of small pets; emissions to air and water and the generation, handling, storage, discharge, transportation, disposal, and remediation of waste and hazardous materials; the processing, storage, distribution, safety, advertising, labeling, promotion, and import or export of our products; providing services to our customers; contracted services with various third-party providers; credit and debit card processing; the handling, security, protection, and use of customer and associate information; and the licensing and certification of services. In addition, we are subject to a wide range of state and local regulations relating to COVID-19, which are frequently changing. Read “Business—Government Regulation.”

Violations of or liability under applicable laws and regulations may result in administrative, civil or criminal fines, penalties, or sanctions against us, revocation or modification of applicable permits, licenses, or authorizations, environmental, health and safety investigations or remedial activities, voluntary or involuntary product recalls, warning or untitled letters or cease and desist orders against operations that are not in compliance, or third-party liability claims against us, among other things. Such laws and regulations generally have become more stringent over time and may become more so in the future, and we may incur (directly, or indirectly through our outsourced private brand manufacturing partners) material costs to comply with current or future laws and regulations or in any required product recalls. Some of these laws and regulations are subject to varying and uncertain interpretations, application, and enforcement by courts and regulatory authorities with broad discretion, which can mean that our efforts to maintain compliance in all jurisdictions are not always successful. Liabilities under, costs of compliance with, and the impacts on us of any alleged or determined non-compliance with any such laws and regulations could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, changes in the laws and regulations to which we are subject could impose significant limitations and require changes to our business, which may increase our compliance expenses, make our business costlier and less efficient to conduct, and compromise our growth strategy. Although we routinely obtain broad indemnities from our vendors in respect of their products, we could be adversely affected if we were found not to be in compliance with applicable regulations and we were not made whole by our vendors.

Among other regulatory requirements, the FDA regulates the inclusion of specific claims in pet food labeling. For example, pet food products that are labeled or marketed with claims that may suggest that they are intended to treat or prevent disease in pets would potentially meet the statutory definitions of both a food and a drug. The FDA has issued guidance containing a list of specific factors it will consider in determining whether to initiate enforcement action against such products if they do not comply with the regulatory requirements applicable to drugs. These factors include, among other things, whether the product is only made available through or under the direction of a veterinarian and does not present a known safety risk when used as labeled. While we believe that we market our products in compliance with the policy articulated in FDA’s guidance and in other claim-specific guidance, the FDA may disagree or may classify some of our products differently than we do, and may impose more stringent regulations which could lead to alleged regulatory violations, enforcement actions, and/or product recalls. In addition, we may produce new products in the future that may be subject to FDA pre-market review before we can market and sell such products. Our distribution centers are also subject to periodic inspection by the FDA or other governmental authorities.

Currently, many states in the United States have adopted the AAFCO’s definition of the term “natural” with respect to the pet food industry, which means a feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur in good manufacturing practices. Certain of our pet food products use the term “natural” in their labelling or marketing materials. As a result, we may incur material costs to comply with any new labeling requirements relating to the term “natural” and could be subject to liabilities if we fail to timely comply with such requirements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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Failure to comply with governmental regulations or the expansion of existing or the enactment of new laws or regulations applicable to our veterinary services could adversely affect our business and our financial condition or lead to fines, litigation, or our inability to offer veterinary products or services in certain states.

All of the states in which we operate impose various registration, permit, and/or licensing requirements relating to the provision of veterinary products and services. To fulfill these requirements, we believe that we have registered with appropriate governmental agencies and, where required, have appointed a licensed veterinarian to act on behalf of each facility. All veterinarians practicing in our veterinary service businesses are required to maintain valid state licenses to practice.

In addition, certain states have laws, rules, and regulations which require that veterinary medical practices be owned by licensed veterinarians and that corporations which are not owned by licensed veterinarians refrain from providing, or holding themselves out as providers of, veterinary medical care, or directly employing or otherwise exercising control over veterinarians providing such care. We may experience difficulty in expanding our operations into other states or jurisdictions with similar laws, rules, and regulations. Our provision of veterinary services through tele-veterinarian offerings is also subject to an evolving set of state laws, rules, and regulations. Although we believe that we have structured our operations to comply with our understanding of the veterinary medicine laws of each state or jurisdiction in which we operate, interpretive legal precedent and regulatory guidance varies by jurisdiction and is often sparse and not fully developed. A determination that we are in violation of applicable restrictions on the practice of veterinary medicine in any jurisdiction in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on us, particularly if we are unable to restructure our operations to comply with the requirements of that jurisdiction.

We strive to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and other legal obligations applicable to any veterinary services we provide. It is possible, however, that these requirements may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another or may conflict with other rules or our practices. We cannot guarantee that our practices have complied, comply, or will comply fully with all such laws, regulations, requirements, and obligations. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with our filed permits and licenses with any applicable federal-, state-, or international-related laws, industry standards or codes of conduct, regulatory guidance, orders to which we may be subject, or other legal obligations relating to privacy or consumer protection could adversely affect our reputation, brand, and business, and may result in claims, proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities or others or other liabilities. Any such claim, proceeding, or action could hurt our reputation, brand and business, force us to incur significant expenses in defending such proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, result in a loss of customers and vendors, and may result in the imposition of monetary liability. We may also be contractually liable to indemnify and hold harmless third parties from the costs or consequences of non-compliance with any laws or regulations applicable to our veterinary services. In addition, various federal, state, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies may expand existing laws or regulations, enact new laws or regulations, or issue revised rules or guidance applicable to our veterinary services. Any such changes may force us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices. This could compromise our ability to pursue our growth strategy effectively and may adversely affect our ability to acquire customers or otherwise harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We are subject to risks related to online payment methods.

We currently accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit cards, debit cards, Paypal, and gift cards. As we offer new payment options to consumers, we may be subject to additional regulations, compliance requirements, fraud, and other risks. For certain payment methods, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower profitability. As a merchant that accepts debit and credit cards for payment, we are subject to the Payment Card Industry (“PCI”) Data Security Standard (“PCI DSS”), issued by the PCI Council. PCI DSS contains compliance guidelines and standards with regard to our security surrounding the physical administrative and technical storage, processing, and transmission of individual cardholder data. By accepting debit cards for payment, we are also subject to compliance with American National Standards Institute data encryption standards and payment network security operating guidelines. Failure to be PCI compliant or to meet other payment card standards may result in the imposition of financial penalties or the allocation by the card brands of the costs of fraudulent charges to us. Additionally, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act requires systems that print payment card receipts to employ personal account number truncation so that the customer’s full account number is not viewable on the slip.

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Further, as our business changes, we may be subject to different rules under existing standards, which may require new assessments that involve costs above what we currently pay for compliance. In the future, as we offer new payment options to consumers, including by way of integrating emerging mobile and other payment methods, we may be subject to additional regulations, compliance requirements, and fraud. If we fail to comply with the rules or requirements of any provider of a payment method we accept, if the volume of fraud in our transactions limits or terminates our rights to use payment methods we currently accept, or if a data breach occurs relating to our payment systems, we may, among other things, be subject to fines, legal proceedings, or higher transaction fees and may lose, or face restrictions placed upon, our ability to accept credit card payments from consumers or facilitate other types of online payments. If any of these events were to occur, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We also occasionally receive orders placed with fraudulent data. If we are unable to detect or control fraud, our liability for these transactions could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our marketing programs, e-commerce initiatives, and use of consumer information are governed by an evolving set of laws and enforcement trends, and changes in privacy laws or trends, or our failure to comply with existing or future laws, could substantially harm our business and results of operations.

We collect, maintain, use, and share consumer data provided to us through online activities and other consumer interactions in our business in order to provide a better experience for our customers. Our current and future marketing programs depend on our ability to collect, maintain, use, and share this information with service providers, and our ability to do so depends on the trust that our customers place in us and our ability to maintain that trust. Additionally, our use of consumer data is subject to the terms of our privacy policies and certain contractual restrictions in third-party contracts as well as evolving federal, state, and international laws and enforcement trends. While we strive to comply with all such regulatory and contractual obligations and believe that we are good stewards of our customers’ data, this area is rapidly evolving, and it is possible that these requirements may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, may conflict with other rules, or may conflict with our practices. If so, we may suffer damage to our reputation and be subject to proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities or others. Any such proceeding or action could hurt our reputation, force us to spend significant amounts to defend our practices, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, and result in monetary liability.

One of the ways we track consumer data and interactions for marketing purposes is through the use of third-party “cookies.” Federal and state governmental authorities continue to evaluate the privacy implications inherent in the use of third-party cookies and other methods of online tracking for behavioral advertising and other purposes. The U.S. government has enacted, has considered, or is considering legislation or regulations that could significantly restrict the ability of companies and individuals to engage in these activities, such as by regulating the level of consumer notice and consent required before a company can employ cookies or other electronic tracking tools or the use of data gathered with such tools. Additionally, some providers of consumer devices and web browsers have implemented, or announced plans to implement, means to make it easier for internet users to prevent the placement of cookies or to block other tracking technologies, which could if widely adopted result in the use of third-party cookies and other methods of online tracking becoming significantly less effective. The regulation of the use of these cookies and other current online tracking and advertising practices or a loss in our ability to make effective use of services that employ such technologies could increase our costs of operations and limit our ability to acquire new customers on cost-effective terms and, consequently, materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

In addition, various federal and state legislative and regulatory bodies, or self-regulatory organizations, may expand or further enforce current laws or regulations, enact new laws or regulations, or issue revised rules or guidance regarding privacy, data protection, consumer protection, and advertising. For example, in June 2018, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain sales of personal information, and receive detailed information about what personal information is collected, how their personal information is used, and how that personal information is shared. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations enforced by the California Attorney General, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Further, on November 3, 2020, the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”) was voted into law by California residents. The CPRA significantly amends the CCPA, and imposes additional data protection obligations on companies doing business in California, including additional consumer rights processes and opt outs for certain uses of sensitive data. It also creates a new California data

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protection agency specifically tasked to enforce the law, which could result in increased regulatory scrutiny of California businesses in the areas of data protection and security. The substantive requirements for businesses subject to the CPRA will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and become enforceable on July 1, 2023. Some observers have noted that the CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent state privacy legislation in the United States. Similar laws have been proposed in other states and at the federal level, and if passed, such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements that would make compliance challenging. We have incurred and may continue to incur costs to adapt our systems and practices to comply with the current CCPA requirements and these costs may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and many state attorneys general are interpreting existing federal and state consumer protection laws to impose evolving standards for the online collection, use, dissemination, and security of other personal data. Courts may also adopt the standards for fair information practices promulgated by the FTC, which concern consumer notice, choice, security, and access. Consumer protection laws require us to publish statements that describe how we handle personal data and choices individuals may have about the way we handle their personal data. If such information that we publish is considered untrue, we may be subject to government claims of unfair or deceptive trade practices, which could lead to significant liabilities and consequences. Further, according to the FTC, violating consumers’ privacy rights or failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal data secure may constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Each of these privacy, security, and data protection laws and regulations—and others, including the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, regulating our use of certain electronic mail marketing and state data breach notification laws requiring notifications to state residents in certain instances—and any other such changes or new laws or regulations, could impose significant limitations, require changes to our business, or restrict our use or storage of personal information, which may increase our compliance expenses and make our business costlier or less efficient to conduct. In addition, any such changes could compromise our ability to develop an adequate marketing strategy and pursue our growth strategy effectively, which, in turn, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We face the risk of litigation resulting from unauthorized text messages sent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

We send short message service, or SMS, text messages to customers. The actual or perceived improper sending of text messages may subject us to potential risks, including liabilities or claims relating to consumer protection laws. Numerous class-action suits under federal and state laws have been filed in recent years against companies who conduct SMS texting programs, with many resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements to the plaintiffs. Any future such litigation against us could be costly and time-consuming to defend. For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, a federal statute that protects consumers from unwanted telephone calls, faxes, and text messages, restricts telemarketing and the use of automated SMS text messages without proper consent. Federal or state regulatory authorities or private litigants may claim that the notices and disclosures we provide, form of consents we obtain, or our SMS texting practices are not adequate or violate applicable law. This may in the future result in civil claims against us. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to the delivery of text messages are continuously evolving and developing. If we do not comply with these laws or regulations or if we become liable under these laws or regulations, we could face direct liability, could be required to change some portions of our business model, could face negative publicity, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected. Even an unsuccessful challenge of our SMS texting practices by our customers, regulatory authorities, or other third parties could result in negative publicity and could require a costly response from and defense by us.

Product recalls and product liability, as well as changes in product safety and other consumer protection laws, may adversely impact our operations, merchandise offerings, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

We are subject to regulations by a variety of federal, state, and international regulatory authorities, including regulations regarding the safety and quality of our products. We purchase merchandise from several hundred different vendors. One or more of our vendors, including manufacturers of our owned or private label brand products, might not adhere to product safety requirements or our quality control standards, and we might not identify the deficiency before merchandise ships to our pet care centers. Any issues of product safety or allegations that our products are in violation of governmental regulations, including, but not limited to, issues involving products manufactured in foreign countries, could cause those products to be recalled. If our vendors fail to manufacture or

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import merchandise that adheres to our quality control standards, product safety requirements, or applicable governmental regulations, our reputation and brands could be damaged, potentially leading to increases in customer litigation against us. Further, to the extent we are unable to replace any recalled products, we may have to reduce our merchandise offerings, resulting in a decrease in sales. If our vendors are unable or unwilling to recall products failing to meet our quality standards, we may be required to recall those products at a substantial cost to us. Moreover, changes in product safety or other consumer protection laws could lead to increased costs to us for certain merchandise, or additional labor costs associated with readying merchandise for sale. Long lead times on merchandise ordering cycles increase the difficulty for us to plan and prepare for potential changes to applicable laws. In the event that we are unable to timely comply with regulatory changes or regulators do not believe we are complying with current regulations applicable to us, significant fines or penalties could result, and could adversely affect our reputation, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Failure to establish, maintain, protect, and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights or prevent third parties from making unauthorized use of our technology or our brand could harm our competitive position or require us to incur significant expenses to enforce our rights.

Our trademarks, such as Bond & Co., Good 2 Go, Good Lovin’, Harmony, Imagitarium, Leaps & Bounds, Pals Rewards, Petco, PetCoach, PupBox, Reddy, Ruff & Mews, So Phresh, Vetco, Well & Good, WholeHearted, and You & Me are valuable assets that support our brand and consumers’ perception of our products. We rely on trademark, copyright, trade secret, patent, and other intellectual property laws, as well as nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements and other methods, to protect our trademarks, trade names, proprietary information, technologies, and processes. We might not be able to obtain broad protection in the United States for all of our intellectual property. The protection of our intellectual property rights may require the expenditure of significant financial, managerial, and operational resources. Moreover, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property may not adequately protect our rights or prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating our proprietary rights, and we may be unable to broadly enforce all of our trademarks. Any of our patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights may be challenged by others or invalidated through administrative process or litigation. Our patent and trademark applications may never be granted. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may be unable to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. Even if issued, there can be no assurance that these patents will adequately protect our intellectual property, as the legal standards relating to the validity, enforceability, and scope of protection of patent and other intellectual property rights are uncertain. We also cannot be certain that others will not independently develop or otherwise acquire equivalent or superior technology or intellectual property rights. Further, our nondisclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of our proprietary information, technologies, and processes and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of such information, which could harm our competitive position. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may be unavailable or limited for some of our trademarks and patents in some foreign countries. We might be required to expend significant resources to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights. For example, we may need to engage in litigation or similar activities to enforce our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, or to determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights of others. However, we may be unable to discover or determine the extent of any infringement, misappropriation, or other violation of our intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights. Despite our efforts, we may be unable to prevent third parties from infringing upon, misappropriating, or otherwise violating our intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights. Any such litigation, whether or not resolved in our favor, could require us to expend significant resources and divert the efforts and attention of our management and other personnel from our business operations. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims or other allegations, which could result in substantial damages and diversion of management’s efforts and attention.

We have obligations with respect to the non-use and non-disclosure of third-party intellectual property. The steps we take to prevent misappropriation, infringement, or other violation of the intellectual property of others may not be successful. From time to time, third parties have asserted intellectual property infringement claims against us and may continue to do so in the future. These risks have been amplified by the increase in third parties whose sole or primary business is to assert such claims. While we believe that our products and operations do not infringe in any material respect upon proprietary rights of other parties and/or that meritorious defenses would exist with respect to any assertions to the contrary, we may from time to time be found to infringe on the proprietary rights of others.

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Any claims that our products, services, or marketing materials infringe the proprietary rights of third parties, regardless of their merit or resolution, could be costly, result in injunctions against us or payment of damages by us, and may divert the efforts and attention of our management and technical personnel. We may not prevail in such proceedings given the complex technical issues and inherent uncertainties in intellectual property litigation. If such proceedings result in an adverse outcome, we could, among other things, be required to:

 

pay substantial damages (potentially treble damages in the United States);

 

cease the manufacture, use, distribution, or sale of the infringing products, operations, or services;

 

discontinue the use of the infringing methods or processes;

 

expend significant resources to develop non-infringing products, operations, or services or re-brand our business and products; and

 

obtain a license from the third party claiming infringement, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or may not be available at all.

If any of the foregoing occurs, our ability to compete could be affected or our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

We are party to routine litigation arising in the ordinary course of our business and may become involved in additional litigation, all of which could require time and attention from certain members of management and result in significant legal expenses.

We are involved in litigation arising in the ordinary course of business, including claims related to federal or state wage and hour laws, working conditions, product liability, consumer protection, advertising, employment, intellectual property, tort, privacy and data protection, disputes with landlords and vendors due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, claims from customers or employees alleging failure to maintain safe premises with respect to protocols relating to COVID-19, and other matters. Even if we prevail, litigation can be time-consuming and expensive. An unfavorable outcome in one or more of these existing lawsuits, or future litigation to which we become a party, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

We are subject to environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations that could result in costs to us.

In connection with the ownership and operations of our pet care centers and distribution centers, we are subject to laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those governing the management and disposal of wastes and the cleanup of contaminated sites. We could incur costs, including fines and other sanctions, cleanup costs, and third-party claims, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations. Although we are not aware of any of our sites at which we currently have material remedial obligations, the imposition of remedial obligations as a result of the discovery of contaminants in the future could result in additional costs.

We may fail to comply with various state or federal regulations covering the dispensing of prescription pet medications, including controlled substances, through our veterinary services businesses, which may subject us to reprimands, sanctions, probations, fines, or suspensions.

The sale and delivery of prescription pet medications and controlled substances through our veterinary services businesses are governed by extensive regulation and oversight by federal and state governmental authorities. The laws and regulations governing our operations and interpretations of those laws and regulations are increasing in number and complexity, change frequently, and can be inconsistent or conflicting. In addition, the governmental authorities that regulate our business have broad latitude to make, interpret, and enforce the laws and regulations that govern our operations and continue to interpret and enforce those laws and regulations more strictly and more aggressively each year. In the future, we may be subject to routine administrative complaints incidental to the dispensing of prescription pet medications through our veterinary services businesses.

If we are unable to maintain the licenses granted by relevant state authorities in connection with our dispensing of prescription pet medications, or if we become subject to actions by the FDA, the DEA, or other regulators, our dispensing of prescription medications to pet parents could cease and we may be subject to reprimands, sanctions, probations, fines, or suspensions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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As a public company, we are subject to additional laws, regulations, and stock exchange listing standards, which will impose additional costs on us and divert our management’s attention.

Prior to our initial public offering in January 2021, we operated our business as a private company since October 2006. We are now subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the listing requirements of Nasdaq, and other applicable securities laws and regulations. Compliance with these laws and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more difficult, time-consuming, or costly. For example, the Exchange Act requires us, among other things, to file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. Being a public company and being subject to new rules and regulations make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These additional requirements impose significant additional costs on us and may divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our cash flows and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under existing debt agreements.

At January 30, 2021, we had outstanding a $1,678 million senior secured term loan facility (as amended, the “Amended Term Loan Facility”) and a senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility providing for senior secured financing of up to $500 million (as amended, the “Amended Revolving Credit Facility”), subject to a borrowing base. On March 4, 2021, subsequent to fiscal 2020, we entered into a (i) $1,700 million secured term loan facility maturing on March 4, 2028 (the “First Lien Term Loan”) and repaid all outstanding principal and interest on the Amended Term Loan Facility and (ii) secured asset-based revolving credit facility providing for senior secured financing of up to $500 million, subject to a borrowing base, maturing on March 4, 2026 (the “ABL Revolving Credit Facility”) and terminated the Amended Revolving Credit Facility. Our substantial indebtedness could restrict our operations and could have important consequences. For example, it could:

 

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our existing indebtedness;

 

increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;

 

require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flows to fund working capital and capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes;

 

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and industry, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt;

 

restrict us from making strategic acquisitions or other investments or cause us to make non-strategic divestitures; and

 

limit, along with the financial and other restrictive covenants in the documents governing our indebtedness, among other things, our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital and capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes.

Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for descriptions of the senior secured credit facilities.

The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests.

The First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility both impose material restrictions on us. These restrictions, subject in certain cases to ordinary course of business and other exceptions, may limit our ability to engage in some transactions, including the following:

 

incurring additional debt;

 

paying dividends, redeeming capital stock, or making other restricted payments or investments;

 

selling assets, properties, or licenses;

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creating liens on assets;

 

entering into sale and lease-back transactions;

 

undergoing a change in control;

 

merging, consolidating, or disposing of substantially all assets;

 

entering into new lines of business;

 

entering into transactions with affiliates; and

 

placing restrictions on the ability of subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other payments.

Any of these restrictions on our ability to operate our business in our discretion could adversely affect our business by, among other things, limiting our ability to adapt to changing economic, financial, or industry conditions and to take advantage of corporate opportunities, including opportunities to obtain debt financing, repurchase stock, refinance or pay principal on our outstanding debt, or complete acquisitions for cash or debt.

Any future debt that we incur may contain financial maintenance covenants. In addition, the ABL Revolving Credit Facility contains financial maintenance covenants that are triggered by certain conditions. Events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial, and industry conditions, could affect our ability to satisfy these financial maintenance covenants, and we cannot assure you that we will satisfy them.

Any failure to comply with the restrictions of the First Lien Term Loan, ABL Revolving Credit Facility, and any subsequent financing agreements, including as a result of events beyond our control, may result in an event of default under these agreements, which in turn may result in defaults or acceleration of obligations under these agreements and other agreements, giving our lenders and other debt holders the right to terminate any commitments they may have made to provide us with further funds and to require us to repay all amounts then outstanding. Our assets and cash flow may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments. In addition, we may not be able to refinance or restructure the payments on the applicable debt. Even if we were able to secure additional financing, it may not be available on favorable terms.

Despite current indebtedness levels, we may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. This could further increase the risks associated with our substantial leverage.

We may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, which would increase our debt service obligations and could further reduce the cash available to invest in operations. The terms of the credit agreements governing the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility allow us and our subsidiaries to incur additional indebtedness, subject to limitations. As of April 1, 2021, we and our subsidiaries had an additional $394.8 million of unused commitments available to be borrowed under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility. This amount is net of $57.1 million of outstanding letters of credit and a $48.1 million borrowing base reduction for a shortfall in qualifying assets, net of reserves. If new debt is added to our debt levels, or any debt is incurred by our subsidiaries, the related risks that we and our subsidiaries now face could increase.

To service our indebtedness, we will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate or access cash depends on many factors beyond our control.

Our ability to make payments on and refinance our indebtedness and to fund planned capital expenditures, will depend on our ability to generate or access cash in the future. This ability is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, and other factors that are beyond our control.

We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flows from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs. Further, we cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, including the First Lien Term Loan and the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

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Our failure to comply with the covenants contained in the credit agreements for the First Lien Term Loan and the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, including as a result of events beyond our control, could result in an event of default that could cause repayment of our debt to be accelerated.

If we are not able to comply with the covenants and other requirements contained in the credit agreements governing the First Lien Term Loan, the ABL Revolving Credit Facility, or any other debt instruments, an event of default under the relevant debt instrument could occur. In addition to imposing restrictions on our business and operations, some of our debt instruments include covenants relating to financial ratios and tests. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial, and industry conditions. The breach of any of these covenants would result in a default under these instruments. If an event of default does occur under one of these agreements, it could trigger a default under our other debt instruments, prohibit us from accessing additional borrowings, and permit the holders of the defaulted debt to declare amounts outstanding with respect to that debt to be immediately due and payable. Our assets and cash flows may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments. In addition, we may not be able to refinance or restructure the payments on the applicable debt. Even if we were able to secure additional financing, it may not be available on favorable terms.

The amount of borrowings permitted under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility may fluctuate significantly, which may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.

The amount of borrowings permitted at any one time under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility is subject to a borrowing base valuation of the collateral thereunder, net of certain reserves. As a result, our access to credit under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility is potentially subject to significant fluctuations depending on the value of the borrowing base of eligible assets as of any measurement date, as well as certain discretionary rights of the agents in respect of the calculation of such borrowing base value. The inability to borrow under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility may adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations, and financial position.

Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our indebtedness service obligations to increase significantly.

Borrowings under the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness would increase even though the amount borrowed remains the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, would correspondingly decrease. Although we may enter into agreements limiting our exposure to higher interest rates, these agreements may not be effective.

A ratings downgrade or other negative action by a ratings organization could adversely affect the trading price of the shares of our Class A common stock.

Credit rating agencies continually revise their ratings for companies they follow. The condition of the financial and credit markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future. In addition, developments in our business and operations could lead to a ratings downgrade for us or our subsidiaries. Any fluctuation in the rating of us or our subsidiaries may impact our ability to access debt markets in the future or increase our cost of future debt, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition and may adversely affect the trading price of shares of our Class A common stock.

Changes affecting the availability of LIBOR may have consequences for us that cannot yet be reasonably predicted.

We have outstanding debt with variable interest rates based on the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). Advances under the ABL Revolving Credit Facility and the First Lien Term Loan generally bear interest based on (i) the Eurodollar Rate (as defined in our credit agreements and calculated using LIBOR) or (ii) the Base Rate (as defined in our credit agreements). The LIBOR benchmark has been the subject of national, international, and other regulatory guidance and proposals to reform. In July 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced that it intended to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. In March 2021, ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator for LIBOR, confirmed its intention to cease publishing one week and two-month USD LIBOR after December 2021 and all remaining USD LIBOR tenors in mid-2023. Concurrently, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority announced the cessation or loss of representativeness of the USD LIBOR tenors from those

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dates. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of market participants convened by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has recommended the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), a rate calculated based on repurchase agreements backed by treasury securities, as its recommended alternative benchmark rate to replace USD LIBOR. At this time, it is not known whether or when SOFR or other alternative reference rates will attain market traction as replacements for LIBOR.

These reforms may cause LIBOR to perform differently than it has in the past, and it is expected that LIBOR will cease to be available after 2021 or mid-2023, as applicable. After the cessation of LIBOR, alternative benchmark rates will replace LIBOR and could affect our debt securities, debt payments, and receipts. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of the cessation of LIBOR or the establishment of alternative benchmark rates. Any new benchmark rate will likely not replicate LIBOR exactly, which could impact our contracts that terminate after 2021 or mid-2023, as applicable. There is uncertainty about how applicable law and the courts will address the replacement of LIBOR with alternative rates on variable rate retail loan contracts and other contracts that do not include alternative rate fallback provisions. After mid-2023, the interest rates on the ABL Revolving Credit Facility and the First Lien Term Loan will be based on the Base Rate or a SOFR-based alternative benchmark rate, which may result in higher interest rates. In addition, changes to benchmark rates may have an uncertain impact on our cost of funds and our access to the capital markets, which could impact our results of operations and cash flows. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may also adversely affect the trading market for our securities.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our Sponsors have significant influence over us, including control over decisions that require the approval of stockholders, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to stockholders for a vote.

We are currently controlled by our Sponsors through our Principal Stockholder. Our Sponsors control 79.1% of the outstanding voting power of our company. As long as our Sponsors beneficially own or control at least a majority of our outstanding voting power, they will have the ability to exercise substantial control over all corporate actions requiring stockholder approval, irrespective of how our other stockholders may vote, including the election and removal of directors and the size of our board of directors, any amendment of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or the approval of any merger or other significant corporate transaction, including a sale of substantially all of our assets. Even if their ownership falls below 50%, our Sponsors will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions.

Additionally, our Sponsors’ interests may not align with the interests of our other stockholders. Our Sponsors, and other investment funds affiliated with them, are in the business of making investments in companies and may acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. Our Sponsors, and other investment funds affiliated with them, may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq rules and, as a result, qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. Accordingly, the holders of our Class A common stock do not have the same protections as those afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such governance requirements.

Our Sponsors, through our Principal Stockholder, control a majority of the voting power of our common stock with respect to director elections. As a result, we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of Nasdaq. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power with respect to director elections is held by an individual, group, or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including:

 

the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors;

 

the requirement that our nominating and corporate governance committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and

 

the requirement that our compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities.

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We currently utilize all of these exemptions. As a result, we do not have a majority of independent directors and our Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee do not consist entirely of independent directors. Accordingly, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of Nasdaq.

Certain of our directors have relationships with our Sponsors, which may cause conflicts of interest with respect to our business.

Six of our eleven directors are affiliated with our Sponsors. These directors have fiduciary duties to us and, in addition, have duties to the applicable Sponsor or stockholder affiliate. As a result, these directors may face real or apparent conflicts of interest with respect to matters affecting both us and the affiliated Sponsors, whose interests may be adverse to ours in some circumstances.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management, and may adversely affect the market price of our stock.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws include provisions that:

 

provide that, except with regard to directors nominated by our Principal Stockholder, vacancies on our board of directors shall be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director;

 

establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving three-year staggered terms;

 

provide that our directors can be removed for cause only, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock;

 

provide that, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock, any action required or permitted to be taken by the stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and may not be effected by any consent in writing in lieu of a meeting of such stockholders;

 

specify that, once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) no longer beneficially owns 50% or more of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock, special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, or the Chairman of our board of directors (prior to such time, special meetings of the stockholders of our company shall be called by the Chairman of our board of directors or our Secretary at the request of our Principal Stockholder, in addition to being able to be called by the Chairman of our board of directors and by our board of directors);

 

require the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of all outstanding stock entitled to vote thereon, voting together as a single class, to amend or repeal our bylaws and certain articles of our certificate of incorporation once our Principal Stockholder (including its permitted transferees under the stockholder’s agreement) ceases to beneficially own at least 50% of the Class A common stock and Class B-1 common stock;

 

establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;

 

authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, shares of undesignated preferred stock; and

 

reflect three classes of common stock.

These and other provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, we are a Delaware corporation

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governed by the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”). In general, Section 203 of the DGCL, an anti-takeover law, prohibits a publicly held Delaware corporation from engaging in a business combination, such as a merger, with a person or group owning 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock, which person or group is considered an interested stockholder under the DGCL, for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder, unless (with certain exceptions) the business combination or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder is approved in a prescribed manner. We have elected in our certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203. However, our certificate of incorporation contains provisions that have the same effect as Section 203, except that they provide our Sponsors, our Principal Stockholder, their affiliates, and their respective successors (other than our company), as well as their direct and indirect transferees, are not deemed to be “interested stockholders,” regardless of the percentage of our voting stock owned by them, and accordingly will not be subject to such restrictions. For additional details, please read Exhibit 4.3 to this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Since we have no current plans to pay regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock, you may not receive any return on investment unless you sell your Class A common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.

We have not paid, and do not anticipate paying, any regular cash dividends on our Class A common stock. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our financial condition, results of operations, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends is, and may be, limited by covenants of existing and any future outstanding indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur, including under the First Lien Term Loan and ABL Revolving Credit Facility. Therefore, any return on investment in our Class A common stock is solely dependent upon the appreciation of the price of our Class A common stock on the open market, which may not occur. Please read “Dividend Policy” for more detail.

We are a holding company with nominal net worth and will depend on dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries to pay any dividends.

Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. and Petco Holdings, Inc. LLC are holding companies with nominal net worth. We do not have any material assets or conduct any business operations other than our investments in our subsidiaries. Our business operations are conducted primarily out of our indirect operating subsidiary, Petco Animal Supplies and its subsidiaries. As a result, in addition to the restrictions on payment of dividends that apply under the terms of our existing indebtedness, our ability to pay dividends, if any, will be dependent upon cash dividends and distributions or other transfers from our subsidiaries, including from Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc. Payments to us by our subsidiaries will be contingent upon their respective earnings and subject to any limitations on the ability of such entities to make payments or other distributions to us.

The multi-class structure of our common stock may adversely affect the trading market for our Class A common stock.

In July 2017, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell announced changes to their eligibility criteria for the inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the S&P MidCap 400 and the S&P SmallCap 600, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares of common stock from being added to these indices. As a result, our multi-class capital structure makes us ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices, and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not be investing in our stock. Further, we cannot assure you that other stock indices will not take a similar approach to S&P Dow Jones or FTSE Russell in the future. Exclusion from indices could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors and, as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.

Our certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, and the federal district courts as the exclusive forum for Securities Act claims, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain what such stockholders believe to be a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, other employees, or agents.

Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we, in writing, select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, all complaints asserting any internal corporate claims (defined as claims, including claims in the

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right of our company: (i) that are based upon a violation of a duty by a current or former director, officer, employee, or stockholder in such capacity; or (ii) as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction upon the Court of Chancery), to the fullest extent permitted by law, and subject to applicable jurisdictional requirements, shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have, or declines to accept, subject matter jurisdiction, another state court or a federal court located within the State of Delaware). Further, unless we select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Our choice-of-forum provision does not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act, and investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in our common stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum selection provisions described in our certificate of incorporation. These choice-of-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and such persons. It is possible that a court may find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, in which case we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.

General Risk Factors

An active, liquid trading market for our Class A common stock may not develop, which may limit your ability to sell your shares.

Prior to our initial public offering in January 2021, there was no public market for our Class A common stock. Although our Class A common stock is now listed on Nasdaq under the symbol “WOOF,” an active trading market for our shares may never develop or be sustained. A public trading market having the desirable characteristics of depth, liquidity, and orderliness depends upon the existence of willing buyers and sellers at any given time, and its existence is dependent upon the individual decisions of buyers and sellers over which neither we nor any market maker has control. The failure of an active and liquid trading market to develop and continue would likely have a material adverse effect on the value of our Class A common stock. The market price of our Class A common stock may decline. An inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.

Our operating results and share price may be volatile, and the market price of our Class A common stock may drop.

Our quarterly operating results are likely to fluctuate in the future as a publicly traded company. In addition, securities markets worldwide have experienced, and are likely to continue to experience, significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market, or political conditions, could subject the market price of our shares to wide price fluctuations regardless of our operating performance. You may not be able to resell your shares at or above the initial public offering price or at all. Our operating results and the trading price of our shares may fluctuate in response to various factors, including:

 

market conditions in the broader stock market;

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial and operating results;

 

introduction of new products or services by us or our competitors;

 

issuance of new or changed securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

 

changes in debt ratings;

 

results of operations that vary from expectations of securities analysts and investors;

 

guidance, if any, that we provide to the public, any changes in this guidance or our failure to meet this guidance;

 

strategic actions by us or our competitors;

 

announcement by us, our competitors, or our vendors of significant contracts or acquisitions;

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sales, or anticipated sales, of large blocks of our stock;

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

regulatory, legal, or political developments;

 

public response to press releases or other public announcements by us or third parties, including our filings with the SEC;

 

litigation and governmental investigations;

 

changing economic conditions;

 

changes in accounting principles;

 

default under agreements governing our indebtedness; and

 

other events or factors, including those from natural disasters, pandemic, pet disease, war, acts of terrorism, or responses to these events.

These and other factors, many of which are beyond our control, may cause our operating results and the market price and demand for our shares to fluctuate substantially. While we believe that operating results for any particular quarter are not necessarily a meaningful indication of future results, fluctuations in our quarterly operating results could limit or prevent investors from readily selling their shares and may otherwise negatively affect the market price and liquidity of our shares. In addition, in the past, when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have sometimes brought securities class action litigation against the company that issued the stock. If any of our stockholders brought a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial costs defending the lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could also divert the time and attention of our management from our business, which could significantly harm our profitability and reputation.

Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted by future issuances of capital stock, which could reduce your influence over matters on which stockholders vote.

Pursuant to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, our board of directors has the authority, without action or vote of our stockholders, to issue all or any part of our authorized but unissued shares of common stock, including shares issuable upon the exercise of options, or shares of our authorized but unissued preferred stock. Issuances of common stock or voting preferred stock would reduce your influence over matters on which our stockholders vote and, in the case of issuances of preferred stock, would likely result in your interest in us being subject to the prior rights of holders of that preferred stock. Moreover, the ability of holders of Class B-1 common stock to convert each of their shares into one share of Class A common stock, subject to the transfer to us of an equivalent number of shares of Class B-2 common stock, may increase the number of outstanding shares of Class A common stock; however, such conversion rights will not dilute or otherwise affect the voting rights of the holders of Class A common stock because Class B-1 common stock and Class B-2 common stock taken on a combined basis will have the same voting rights as Class A common stock.

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future. This could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our Class A common stock. We have also filed a Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register all shares of Class A common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation plans. In addition, our Principal Stockholder has demand registration rights that will require us to file registration statements in connection with future sales of our stock by our Principal Stockholder, including in connection with the note purchase agreement described below. Sales by our Principal Stockholder could be significant. Once we register these shares, they can be freely resold in the public market, subject to legal or contractual restrictions, such lock-up agreements. As restrictions on resale end, the market price of our stock could decline if the holders of currently restricted shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them. Lastly, our Principal Stockholder has entered into a note purchase agreement. The obligations under the note purchase agreement will be secured by a pledge of all of the shares of our common stock owned by our Principal Stockholder and its affiliates. If our Principal Stockholder were to default on any of its obligations under the note purchase agreement or in the event of

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a collateral deficiency the holders would have the right to foreclose on all of our common stock subject to the pledge and sell such shares of common stock. Such an event could further cause our stock price to decline and could result in a change in control of our company that could trigger a default under, or acceleration of, the obligations under our senior secured credit facilities. Any foreclosure on our common stock which secures obligations under the note purchase agreement could result in the sale of a significant number of shares of our common stock, which could result in a decrease in the price of our common stock.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our shares, or if our results of operations do not meet their expectations, our share price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our shares likely will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our share price or trading volume to decline. Moreover, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock, or if our results of operations do not meet their expectations, our share price could decline.

If our operating and financial performance in any given period does not meet the guidance that we have provided to the public or the expectations of our investors and analysts, our Class A common stock price may decline.

We anticipate providing guidance on our expected operating and financial results for future periods on an annual basis only, as we believe this approach is better aligned with the long-term view we take in managing our business and our focus on long-term stockholder value creation. Although we believe that this guidance will provide investors and analysts with a better understanding of management’s expectations for the future and is useful to our stockholders and potential stockholders, such guidance comprises forward-looking statements subject to the risks and uncertainties described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our other public filings and public statements. Our actual results may not always be in line with or exceed the guidance we have provided or the expectations of our investors and analysts, especially in times of economic uncertainty. If, in the future, our operating or financial results for a particular period do not meet our guidance or the expectations of our investors and analysts or if we reduce our guidance for future periods, our share price could decline.

If our internal control over financial reporting or our disclosure controls and procedures are not effective, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results, prevent fraud, or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.

Prior to our initial public offering in January 2021, we were a private company and have not been subject to the internal control and financial reporting requirements that are required of a publicly traded company. We are now required to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, following the date we are deemed to be an “accelerated filer” or a “large accelerated filer,” each as defined in the Exchange Act, which could be as early as our next fiscal year. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls, and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluation, document our controls and perform testing of our key control over financial reporting to allow management and our independent public accounting firm to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses. If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, or if we or our accounting firm identifies deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, the market price of our stock would likely decline and we could be subject to lawsuits, sanctions or investigations by regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources.

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Unanticipated changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to taxes by the U.S. federal, state, and local tax authorities, and our tax liabilities will be affected by the allocation of expenses to differing jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rates could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by a number of factors, including:

 

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

expected timing and amount of the release of any tax valuation allowances;

 

tax effects of stock-based compensation; or

 

changes in tax laws, regulations, or interpretations thereof.

In addition, we may be subject to audits of our income, sales, and other transaction taxes by U.S. federal, state, and local taxing authorities. Outcomes from these audits could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

We have co-headquartered facilities, located in San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas. Our San Diego, California location was completed in the summer of fiscal 2015, comprising a total of approximately 257,000 square feet, and is under a long-term lease. Our San Antonio location consists of a sub-divided leased facility, comprising a total of approximately 73,000 square feet.

We lease all of our distribution center locations and nearly all of our approximately 1,454 pet care centers. The original lease term for pet care centers is generally ten years, with certain leases being shorter or longer, and many of these leases contain renewal options. The vast majority of pet care center leases, excluding renewal options, expire at various dates over the next ten years. Our pet care centers are generally located at sites co-anchored by strong destination stores. Certain leases require payment of property taxes, utilities, common area maintenance and insurance and, if annual sales at certain locations exceed specified amounts, provide for additional rent expense.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

We are involved in the legal proceedings described in Note 16, Commitments and Contingencies, in our historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and we are subject to other claims and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. The outcome of any litigation is inherently uncertain, and if decided adversely to us, or if we determine that settlement of particular litigation is appropriate, we may be subject to liability that could have a material adverse effect on our business. We believe that there are no pending lawsuits or claims that, individually or in the aggregate, may have a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

Our Class A common stock is currently listed on Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker “WOOF” and began trading on January 14, 2021. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. There is no public trading market for our Class B-1 common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and our Class B-2 common stock, par value $0.000001 per share.

Holders

As of April 1, 2021, there were two shareholders of record of our Class A common stock, one shareholder of record of our Class B-1 common stock, and two shareholders of record of our Class B-2 common stock. The number of record holders of our Class A common stock does not reflect the number of persons or entities holding their stock in “street” name through brokerage firms or other nominee holders.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Equity Securities

None.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

Dividend Policy

We do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends to holders of our Class A common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain future earnings, if any, to finance the growth of our business. Our future dividend policy is within the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon then-existing conditions, including our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, investment opportunities, statutory restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant. Please read “Risk Factors—The agreements governing our indebtedness include restrictive covenants that limit our operating flexibility, which could harm our long-term interests,” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for descriptions of restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.

 

Use of Proceeds

 

On January 19, 2021, we closed our initial public offering of 55,200,000 shares of our Class A common stock, including the full exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase 7,200,000 additional shares of our Class A common stock, at an offering price of $18.00 per share, pursuant to the Form S-1 (as defined herein). Upon completion of the sale of the shares of our Class A common stock, the initial public offering terminated. We received net proceeds from the offering of approximately $939.0 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions. As described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on January 15, 2021 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4), we used a portion of the net proceeds from our initial public offering to redeem in full the outstanding amount of Petco Animal Supplies’ outstanding Floating Rate Senior Unsecured Notes (the “Floating Rate Senior Notes”), plus accrued but unpaid interest, and the remainder of the proceeds, plus cash on hand, to repay a portion of the Amended Term Loan Facility (as defined herein). The representatives of the underwriters of our initial public offering were Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and BofA Securities, Inc.

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

Not applicable.

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The discussion and analysis below contain certain forward-looking statements about our business and operations that are subject to the risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section entitled “Risk Factors,” included in Part I, Item 1A, and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. Please read the section entitled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

Overview

We are a beloved brand in the U.S. pet care industry with more than 55 years of service to pets and the people who love and care for them. Since our founding in 1965, we have been developing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through our products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet-parent bond. Over the last three years, we have transformed the business from a successful traditional retailer to a disruptive, fully integrated, digital-focused provider of pet health and wellness offerings. We revamped our leadership team and invested over $375 million to build out leading capabilities across e-commerce and digital, owned brands, data analytics, and a full suite of on-site services including veterinary care.

Our go-to-market strategy is powered by a multi-channel platform that integrates our strong digital presence with our nationwide physical network. Our data-driven digital footprint, consisting of an entirely redesigned e-commerce site and personalized mobile app, delivers an exceptional customer experience and serves as a hub for pet parents to manage their pets’ health, wellness, and merchandise needs, while enabling them to shop wherever, whenever, and however they want. By strategically leveraging our extensive physical network consisting of approximately 1,454 pet care centers located within three miles of 53 % of our customers, we are able to offer our comprehensive product and service offering in a localized manner with a meaningful last-mile advantage over our competition. Through our connected platform, we serve our customers in a differentiated manner by offering the convenience of ship-from-store, BOPUS, curbside pick-up and same day delivery.  Multi-channel customers, who spend between 3x to 7x more with us compared to single-channel customers, increased by double-digits in fiscal 2020.

Through our multi-channel platform, we provide a comprehensive offering of differentiated products and services that fulfill all the needs of pet parents and their pets. Our product offering leverages our owned brand portfolio and partnerships with premium third-party brands to deliver high quality food that avoids artificial ingredients, complemented by a wide variety of premium pet care supplies. We augment this product offering with a broad suite of professional services, including grooming as well as in-store and online training. Our service offering is further enhanced by a rapidly expanding, affordable veterinary service platform, which includes full-service veterinary hospitals, Vetco clinics, and tele-veterinarian services. In addition, we are increasingly linking our offerings with subscription programs such as membership and pet health insurance that create deeper engagement with our customers, and with our Pals Rewards loyalty program members specifically, which members accounted for approximately 80% of transactions in fiscal 2020.  At the end of fiscal 2020, we launched our Vital Care membership program, the industry’s first broad-scale, comprehensive membership program covering items including vaccinations, grooming, services and merchandise discounts.  In addition to providing differentiated products and services, our over 23,000 knowledgeable, passionate partners provide important high-quality advice to our customers in our pet care centers.

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

In assessing our performance, we consider a variety of performance and financial measures including the following:

Comparable Sales

Comparable sales is an important measure throughout the retail industry and includes both retail and digital sales of products and services. A new location or digital site is included in comparable sales beginning on the first day of the fiscal month following 12 full fiscal months of operation and is subsequently compared to like time periods from the previous year. Relocated pet care centers become comparable pet care centers on the first day of

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operation if the original pet care center was open longer than 12 full fiscal months. If, during the period presented, a pet care center was closed, sales from that pet care center are included up to the first day of the month of closing. Additionally, our comparable sales exclude the impact of the wind-down and migration of our Drs. Foster & Smith digital site to Petco.com in fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019. There may be variations in the way in which some of our competitors and other retailers calculate comparable sales. As a result, data in this filing regarding our comparable sales may not be comparable to similar data made available by other retailers.

Comparable sales allow us to evaluate how our overall ecosystem is performing by measuring the change in period-over-period net sales from locations and digital sites that have been open for the applicable period. We intend to improve comparable sales by continuing initiatives aimed to increase customer retention, frequency of visits, and basket size. General macroeconomic and retail business trends are a key driver of changes in comparable sales.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Management and the Board of Directors review certain non-GAAP financial measures, along with GAAP measures (as defined herein), to evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans and make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital.  Our key non-GAAP financial measures are Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net income, Adjusted EPS, Free Cash Flow and Net Debt. Further explanation on our non-GAAP measures, along with reconciliations to their most comparable GAAP measures, is presented below under “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to GAAP Measures.”  

Factors Affecting Our Business

We believe that our performance and future success depend on a number of factors that present significant opportunities for us but also pose risks and challenges, including those discussed below and in the section titled “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Pet Industry Trends

In 2020, the U.S. pet care industry served more than 72 million households with pets and represented a total addressable market of $97 billion, growing by over 3 million pets driven by heightened adoption activity through the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to its non-discretionary nature, the market has demonstrated a long-term track record of consistent growth and resilience throughout economic cycles. From 2020 to 2024, the industry is expected to grow at a 7% CAGR, driven by steady, predictable growth in the underlying pet population coupled with strong tailwinds associated with pet humanization and COVID-19.

Customer Pet Purchase Trends

Our multi-channel integrated ecosystem is designed to support our customers regardless of how customers choose to shop for their pet care needs.  As we saw the major purchase trend shift and growth into areas like e-commerce, services, and veterinary care, we actively invested to build capabilities and offerings to effectively capitalize on the opportunity. Our business will be impacted by our ability to continue to understand and react to changing customer purchase trends.

Customer Acquisition, Retention, and Spend

Our business is impacted by our ability to successfully attract new customers to any one of our channels, build their loyalty to engender return visits, and expand their spend with Petco across multiple purchase channels (e.g., pet care centers, e-commerce, and services) and categories (e.g., pet food, supplies, and companion animal). This is the primary focus of all our customer engagement efforts from digital, to performance marketing campaigns, to new product introductions, and to Petco partner cross-selling activities in pet care centers. The ability to convert more of our customers to loyal, multi-channel shoppers will affect business performance.

Innovation and Transformation

Our operating results over the last two years reflect significant investments made to support innovation and business transformation strategies. These investments include: digital and e-commerce integration and expansion; data analytical capabilities; veterinary services; marketing and advertising; and our owned brands. We also have developed advanced sales reporting that provides our pet care center General Managers and field leadership teams with data to track performance across multiple dimensions, identify opportunities, and execute strategies to drive incremental sales.

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Specifically, some of these investments have included:

 

Approximately $181.2 million of capital investments in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 in our new and existing pet care center locations, including the build-out of over 85 veterinary hospitals.

 

Approximately $119.6 million of capital investments in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 related to digital and information technology, specifically the development of integration capabilities with our pet care center locations, our Petco App, and the development and deployment of data analytical and reporting capabilities.

 

A $70.7 million increase in advertising in fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 to further adapt our advertising footprint to support the acceleration of our e-commerce and digital sales growth.

While these investments provided a key foundation and drive increased sales, ongoing performance of the business will depend on our ability to leverage our existing distribution network and pet care center locations for product delivery and fulfillment, including BOPUS, curbside pick-up, and same day delivery, and build upon and enhance these efforts.

Gross Margin and Expense Management

Our operating results are impacted by our ability to convert revenue growth into higher gross margin and operating margin. The sales mix related to consumables, supplies, and services, with services typically having lower margins, as well as customer shopping preferences, impacts our gross margin results. We focus gross margin and expense management on achieving a balance between ensuring adequate resource spend to grow sales with attention to driving increased profitability. The business has successfully implemented cost optimization initiatives in the past and will continue to find opportunities to enhance profit margins and operate more efficiently in the future.

Talent and Culture

We see our Petco partners as the core to building a purpose-driven performance culture. Our business results rely on our ability to continually: add talented partners, specifically in our scaling business areas like e-commerce, veterinary care, and grooming and training services; provide the best tools, partner training, and competitive compensation to deliver higher sales and better customer experiences; and engender a positive, collaborative, and respectful working environment. Our partners represent the strength of our brand every day and are key to ongoing growth.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the economy in fiscal 2020. As an essential retailer, all of our pet care centers have remained open, as we are the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctor’s office for many of our nation’s pets. Market data indicates that with more of the working population staying home, there has been an increase in pet ownership and the percentage of disposable income spent on home-related goods and services, including pet care. Overall, this macroeconomic trend has favorably impacted our business results to date, but the possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic, and any government response thereto, increases the uncertainty regarding future economic conditions that could impact our business in the future.

We quickly adapted our business and operations since the start of the pandemic to ensure, first and foremost, the health and safety of our partners, the animals in our care, and the customers we serve. These adaptations include: providing additional paid-time off and five cycles of appreciation bonuses to our frontline partners; establishing a $2 million employee support fund to assist our partners and their families impacted by the pandemic; investing in sanitation, plexiglass barriers, signage, and personal protective equipment; and adopting strict safety protocols that limit direct human interactions and promote social distancing.

We were well-positioned to meet the increasing and evolving needs of pets and their parents at the onset of the pandemic. Initially, we experienced significant increases in customer pet food purchases, but as the months progressed, our sales growth shifted to our supplies category, due to an increase in pet ownership and shifts in disposable income spending toward pets. In services, we temporarily suspended our training services and vaccination clinic operations, and we reduced our grooming capacity while stay-at-home orders were in place. Although we had experienced increasing customer demand for services before the pandemic, sales attributable to such services declined significantly from March through May 2020 as a result of the suspension.

43


We have experienced a significant acceleration of our e-commerce business, particularly as it relates to the integrated offering with our pet care centers. Our ship-from-store capability enabled us to maintain regular shipping timelines, and we capitalized on our BOPUS capability and rolled out curbside pick-up in a matter of weeks, enabling us to get products to customers faster and at a higher margin than online retailers that incur costs to ship products to their customers. Additionally, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we implemented same day delivery.   We have incurred additional expenses to support this business growth.

To preserve liquidity during the pandemic, we temporarily suspended capital expenditures, but as our financial results surpassed earlier expectations, we returned to our initial capital plan in the second half of fiscal 2020. In efforts to control expenses, we negotiated discounts and concessions with landlords and vendors and temporarily furloughed or implemented temporary pay cuts for non-frontline partners.

Significant Components of Results of Operations

Net Sales

Our net sales comprise gross sales of products and services, net of sales tax and certain discounts and promotions offered to our customers, including those offered under our customer loyalty programs. Net sales are driven by comparable sales, new pet center locations, and expanded offerings.

Cost of Sales and Gross Profit

Gross profit is equal to our net sales minus our cost of sales. Gross profit rate measures gross profit as a percentage of net sales.

Our cost of sales includes the following types of expenses:

 

direct costs (net of vendor rebates, allowances, and discounts for products sold) including inbound freight charges;

 

shipping and handling costs associated with sales to customers;

 

freight costs associated with moving merchandise inventories;

 

inventory shrinkage costs and write-downs;

 

payroll costs of pet groomers, trainers, veterinarians, and other direct costs of services; and

 

costs associated with operating our distribution centers including payroll, occupancy costs and depreciation.

Our digital gross profit rate tends to be lower than the gross profit rate from sales in our pet care centers due to incremental costs associated with shipping and other expenses of delivery to customers. In addition, our gross profit rate tends to be lower for services than for products.

Selling, General, and Administrative Expense

The following types of expenses are included in our selling, general, and administrative costs (“SG&A”):

 

payroll and benefit costs of pet care center employees and corporate employees;

 

occupancy and operating costs of pet care centers and corporate facilities;

 

depreciation and amortization related to pet care centers and corporate assets;

 

credit card fees;

 

store pre-opening and remodeling costs;

 

advertising costs; and

 

other administrative costs.

44


SG&A includes both fixed and variable costs and therefore is not directly correlated with net sales. We expect that our SG&A expenses will increase in future periods due to additional expenses we expect to incur as a result of being a public company, including stock-based compensation.

Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Impairment

In connection with the fiscal 2015 acquisition by our Sponsors, we recorded goodwill of approximately $3.0 billion and an indefinite-lived trade name asset of $1.1 billion. We evaluate these assets for impairment annually and whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. Please read the discussion of these assets under “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.”

Interest Expense

Our interest expense is primarily associated with the senior secured credit facilities, the Floating Rate Senior Notes, the 3.00% Senior Notes (as defined herein), and interest rate caps. In January 2021, the Floating Rate Senior Notes and the 3.00% Senior Notes were exchanged, canceled, and/or redeemed in connection with the initial public offering, and our interest rate caps were settled in accordance with their contractual terms. Additionally, on March 4, 2021, we borrowed $1,700.0 million under a new first lien term loan facility, repaid all outstanding principal and interest on the existing term loan facility, and replaced our existing revolving credit facility with a new revolving credit facility. Please read discussion under “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Liquidity” for further information.

Income Tax Benefit

Income taxes consist of an estimate of federal and state income taxes based on enacted federal and state tax rates, as adjusted for allowable credits, deductions, and the valuation allowance against deferred tax assets, as applicable.

(Income) Loss from Equity Method Investees

Our equity method investments prior to fiscal 2019 consisted primarily of our 50% owned veterinary joint venture and our 50% owned Mexico joint venture. Beginning in fiscal 2019, the veterinary joint venture is now included in our consolidated results. Please read “Net Loss Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest” below for more information regarding our noncontrolling interests.

Net Loss Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest

The noncontrolling interest represents 50% of the net loss of our veterinary joint venture, which is a variable interest entity for which we were deemed to be the primary beneficiary beginning in fiscal 2019 due to revisions made in the joint operating agreement. Prior to fiscal 2019, the veterinary joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment.

Executive Summary

Our business transformation initiatives, accelerated by an increase in pet ownership and a shift in customer discretionary spend on pets, have driven strong top- and bottom-line growth in our business. Comparing fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, we achieved the following results:

 

increase in net sales from $4.43 billion to $4.92 billion, representing period-over-period growth of 11.0%;

 

comparable sales growth of 11.4%;

 

increase in operating income from $110.6 million to $194.4 million, representing period-over-period growth of 75.8%;

 

a decrease in net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders from $95.9 million to $26.5 million, representing a period-over-period improvement of 72.4%;

 

an increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $424.5 million to $484.3 million, representing period-over-period growth of 14.1%; and

45


 

Net cash provided by operating activities increased from $110.3 million in fiscal 2019 to $268.6 million in fiscal 2020.

For a description of our non-GAAP measures and reconciliations to their most comparable GAAP measures, please read the section below titled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to GAAP Measures.”

Results of Operations

The following tables summarize our results of operations and the percent of net sales of line items included in our consolidated statements of operations (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30,

2021

 

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Net sales

 

$

4,920,202

 

 

$

4,434,514

 

 

$

4,392,173

 

Cost of sales

 

 

2,813,464

 

 

 

2,527,995

 

 

 

2,487,334

 

Gross profit

 

 

2,106,738

 

 

 

1,906,519

 

 

 

1,904,839

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

1,912,314

 

 

 

1,776,919

 

 

 

1,746,387

 

Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment

 

 

 

 

 

19,000

 

 

 

373,172

 

Operating income (loss)

 

 

194,424

 

 

 

110,600

 

 

 

(214,720

)

Interest income

 

 

(653

)

 

 

(335

)

 

 

(420

)

Interest expense

 

 

219,083

 

 

 

253,018

 

 

 

243,744

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

17,549

 

 

 

 

 

 

460

 

Loss before income taxes and (income) loss from

   equity method investees

 

 

(41,555

)

 

 

(142,083

)

 

 

(458,504

)

Income tax benefit

 

 

(3,337

)

 

 

(35,658

)

 

 

(45,840

)

(Income) loss from equity method investees

 

 

(6,482

)

 

 

(2,441

)

 

 

1,124

 

Net loss

 

 

(31,736

)

 

 

(103,984

)

 

 

(413,788

)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

(5,253

)

 

 

(8,111

)

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common

   stockholders

 

$

(26,483

)

 

$

(95,873

)

 

$

(413,788

)

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30,

2021

 

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Net sales

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Cost of sales

 

 

57.2

 

 

 

57.0

 

 

 

56.6

 

Gross profit

 

 

42.8

 

 

 

43.0

 

 

 

43.4

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

38.9

 

 

 

40.1

 

 

 

39.8

 

Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment

 

 

 

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

8.5

 

Operating income (loss)

 

 

3.9

 

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

(4.9

)

Interest income

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

0.0

 

Interest expense

 

 

4.4

 

 

 

5.7

 

 

 

5.5

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

0.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.0

 

Loss before income taxes and (income) loss from

   equity method investees

 

 

(0.8

)

 

 

(3.2

)

 

 

(10.4

)

Income tax benefit

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

(0.8

)

 

 

(1.0

)

(Income) loss from equity method investees

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

0.0

 

Net loss

 

 

(0.6

)

 

 

(2.3

)

 

 

(9.4

)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common

   stockholders

 

 

(0.5

)%

 

 

(2.2

)%

 

 

(9.4

)%

46


 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30,

2021

 

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Operational Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparable sales increase (decrease)

 

 

11.4

%

 

 

3.9

%

 

 

(1.1

)%

Total pet care centers at end of period

 

 

1,454

 

 

 

1,478

 

 

 

1,490

 

Total pet care centers with veterinarian practices at

   end of period

 

 

125

 

 

 

81

 

 

 

39

 

Adjusted EBITDA (in thousands)

 

$

484,348

 

 

$

424,547

 

 

$

437,836

 

 

Fiscal 2020 (52 weeks) Compared with Fiscal 2019 (52 weeks)

Net Sales and Comparable Sales

Net sales increased $485.7 million, or 11.0%, to $4.92 billion in fiscal 2020 compared to net sales of $4.43 billion in fiscal 2019, driven by a 11.4% increase in our comparable sales. With our investments in our business over the past two years, we were, and continue to be, well-positioned to meet the increasing and evolving needs of pets and their parents. Our sales growth period-over-period was a result of these investments, coupled with an increase in pet ownership and a shift in consumer spending toward the pet category as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our e-commerce and digital sales increased 103% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020 driven by a change in consumer shopping preferences. With an integrated offering that includes BOPUS, curbside pick-up, ship-from-store, and same day delivery, we were able to quickly get products to customers in a safe manner regardless of their delivery or pick-up preference.

Supplies and companion animal sales increased 20.1% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020 due to increases in pet ownership and shifts in disposable income toward pets. Dog and cat food sales increased 3.4% and services and other sales increased 6.1% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020, respectively.  The increase in services was primarily due to growth in the hospital business due to the addition of 44 new hospitals period-over-period partially offset by the temporary suspension of our training, grooming and vaccination clinic services while stay-at-home orders were in place.

Cost of Goods Sold and Gross Profit

Gross profit increased $200.2 million, or 10.5%, to $2.11 billion in fiscal 2020 compared to gross profit of $1.91 billion for fiscal 2019. As a percentage of sales, our gross profit rate decreased slightly at 42.8% for fiscal 2020 compared to 43.0% for fiscal 2019. The increase in gross profit was due to the overall increase in net sales. The slight decrease in gross profit rate was primarily due to a shift in sales to e-commerce, which typically carries lower margins than pet care center sales. E-commerce sales margins benefitted by the growth in BOPUS, curbside delivery, and ship-from-store, which typically carry higher margins as they reduce or eliminate shipping costs associated with online sales. Approximately 83% of Petco.com orders were fulfilled by our pet care centers during fiscal 2020.  

Also contributing to the decrease in gross profit rate period-over-period were $9.6 million of COVID-19 related expenses and a lower year-over-year actuarial true-up benefit of $7.3 million. COVID-19 related expenses in fiscal 2020 included approximately $7.9 million of appreciation bonuses for our frontline services partners, including groomers, trainers and veterinarians, and distribution center partners and approximately $1.7 million of increased sanitation costs at our distribution centers and for purchases of personal protective equipment.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

SG&A expenses increased $135.4 million, or 7.6%, to $1.91 billion for fiscal 2020 compared to $1.78 billion for fiscal 2019. As a percentage of net sales, SG&A expenses decreased from 40.1% in fiscal 2019 to 38.9% in fiscal 2020 reflecting operating leverage from net sales growth. The increase in expense period-over-period was driven by a $70.7 million increase in advertising expenses to support the acceleration of our e-commerce and digital sales growth; $18.4 million of COVID-19 related appreciation bonuses for our frontline pet care center partners; $11.7 million of COVID-19 related expenses for sanitation, safety-related costs, personal protective equipment and the establishment of our employee assistance fund; and $8.7 million of professional fees expensed in connection with the initial public offering.   Depreciation expense increased $10.6 million due to increased capital spend to support e-commerce and digital initiatives.  

47


Goodwill and Indefinite-lived Intangible Impairment

Our annual impairment test in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 indicated that the fair value of our single reporting unit exceeded the carrying value, and therefore no goodwill impairment charge was recorded.

The annual impairment analysis of our indefinite-lived trade name in fiscal 2020 indicated that the fair value of the asset exceeded the carrying value, and therefore no trade name impairment charge was recorded in fiscal 2020.  In fiscal 2019, an impairment charge of $19.0 million was recorded driven by a combination of market conditions, increased competition from online competitors, and financial performance.

Interest Expense

Interest expense decreased $33.9 million, or 13.4%, to $219.1 million in fiscal 2020 compared with $253.0 million in fiscal 2019. The decrease was primarily driven by lower interest rates between the periods.  In addition, interest expense decreased by approximately $3.5 million due to the redemption/cancellation of the Floating Rate Senior Notes and the 3.00% Senior Notes and repayment of a portion of the Amended Term Loan Facility in connection with the initial public offering. In March 2020, we borrowed $250.0 million on the revolving credit facility as a precautionary measure given the uncertainty of the macroeconomic environment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We subsequently repaid the amount in full in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 and had no borrowings outstanding on the revolving credit facility as of January 30, 2021.

Income Tax Benefit

Our effective tax rate was 11.2% for fiscal 2020, resulting in income tax benefit of $3.3 million, compared to an effective tax rate of 27.3% and income tax benefit of $35.7 million for fiscal 2019. The decrease in effective tax rate in fiscal 2020 as compared to fiscal 2019 is driven by various factors, including the change in earnings as compared to fiscal 2019, a remeasurement of deferred tax assets related to $67.4 million of net operating losses available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) that were carried back to fiscal years before the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, which resulted in a benefit of $8.8 million.  These decreases were partially offset by an increase in equity-based compensation resulting from the initial public offering as discussed in Note 13 of the consolidated financial statements, an increase in unrecognized tax benefits as discussed in Note 14 of the consolidated financial statements, limitations of deductibility for certain public company executive compensation in accordance with Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended (the “Code”), and changes to state taxes from changes in tax laws, tax rates, and apportionment of income.

Net Loss Attributable to Class A and B-1 Common Stockholders

Net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders decreased $69.4 million to $26.5 million for fiscal 2020 compared with a net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders of $95.9 million for fiscal 2019. The improvement period-over-period was primarily driven by higher gross margin of $200.2 million and lower interest expense of $33.9 million, offset by higher SG&A costs of $135.4 million and a lower income tax benefit of $32.3 million.

Prior Year Discussion of Results and Comparisons

For information on fiscal 2018 results and similar comparisons, please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our final prospectus filed with the SEC on January 15,  2021 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4).

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures to GAAP Measures

The following information provides definitions and reconciliations of certain non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Such non-GAAP financial measures are not in accordance with GAAP and should not be considered superior to, as a substitute for or alternative to, and should be considered in conjunction with, the most comparable GAAP measures. The non-GAAP financial measures presented may differ from similarly-titled measures used by other companies.

48


Adjusted EBITDA

We present Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, because we believe it enhances an investor’s understanding of our financial and operational performance by excluding certain material non-cash items, unusual or non-recurring items that we do not expect to continue in the future, and certain other adjustments we believe are or are not reflective of our ongoing operations and performance.  Adjusted EBITDA enables operating performance to be reviewed across reporting periods on a consistent basis.  We use Adjusted EBITDA as one of the principal measures to evaluate and monitor our operating financial performance and to compare our performance to others in our industry.  We also use Adjusted EBITDA in connection with establishing discretionary annual incentive compensation targets, to make budgeting decisions, to make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital, and to report our quarterly results as defined in our debt agreements, although under such agreements the measure is calculated differently and is used for different purposes.

 

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net (loss) income attributable to members excluding:

 

 

interest expense, net and losses on debt extinguishment;

 

income tax (benefit) expense;

 

depreciation, amortization, asset impairments, and write-offs;

 

(income) loss from equity method investees;

 

goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible impairment;

 

equity-based compensation;

 

pre-opening and closing expenses;

 

non-cash occupancy-related costs;

 

severance expenses; and

 

other non-recurring costs.

 

We believe it is useful to exclude these items that are non-cash or non-routine in nature, as they are not components of our business operations and may not directly correlate to the underlying performance of our business. In addition, we add back 50% of EBITDA related to our 50% owned veterinary joint venture for years prior to fiscal 2019 (in fiscal 2019, we began consolidating this joint venture in our financial results) and our 50% owned Mexico joint venture for all periods. We believe it is useful to include our portion of the results of these joint ventures, as it reflects the performance of key components of our business, including veterinary services and international operations, and presents more comparable EBITDA-based financial information rather than (income) loss on a standalone basis. Our portion of the results of these joint ventures has limitations as an analytical tool, including that amounts shown on the individual line items do not necessarily represent our legal claim to the assets and liabilities, or the revenues and expenses presented. In addition, other companies may calculate such proportionate results differently, which reduces their comparability. Further, we define Adjusted EBITDA Margin as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales.

 

Adjusted EBITDA is not a substitute for net (loss) income, the most comparable GAAP measure, and is subject to a number of limitations as a financial measure, so it should be used in conjunction with GAAP financial measures and not in isolation. There can be no assurances that we will not modify the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA in the future. In addition, other companies in our industry may define Adjusted EBITDA differently, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure.

49


The table below reflects the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin, after taking into account net sales for the periods presented:

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30,

2021

 

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Reconciliation of Net Loss Attributable to Class A and B-1

   Common Stockholders to Adjusted EBITDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders

 

$

(26,483

)

 

$

(95,873

)

 

$

(413,788

)

Interest expense, net

 

 

218,430

 

 

 

252,683

 

 

 

243,324

 

Income tax benefit

 

 

(3,337

)

 

 

(35,658

)

 

 

(45,840

)

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

174,836

 

 

 

173,544

 

 

 

186,997

 

(Income) loss from equity method investees

 

 

(6,482

)

 

 

(2,441

)

 

 

1,124

 

Loss on debt extinguishment

 

 

17,549

 

 

 

 

 

 

460

 

Goodwill & indefinite-lived intangible impairment

 

 

 

 

 

19,000

 

 

 

373,172

 

Asset impairments and write offs

 

 

15,606

 

 

 

11,871

 

 

 

17,677

 

Equity-based compensation

 

 

12,915

 

 

 

9,489

 

 

 

8,452

 

Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4,135

)

Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA (2)

 

 

19,074

 

 

 

14,227

 

 

 

7,614

 

Store pre-opening expenses

 

 

9,228

 

 

 

10,325

 

 

 

6,551

 

Store closing expenses

 

 

7,782

 

 

 

4,068

 

 

 

16,484

 

Severance

 

 

5,283

 

 

 

10,164

 

 

 

6,699

 

Non-cash occupancy-related costs (3)

 

 

19,240

 

 

 

32,763

 

 

 

4,339

 

Non-recurring costs (4)

 

 

20,707

 

 

 

20,385

 

 

 

28,706

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

484,348

 

 

$

424,547

 

 

$

437,836

 

Net sales

 

$

4,920,202

 

 

$

4,434,514

 

 

$

4,392,173

 

Net margin (5)

 

 

(0.5

)%

 

 

(2.2

)%

 

 

(9.4

)%

Adjusted EBITDA Margin (5)

 

 

9.8

%

 

 

9.6

%

 

 

10.0

%

 

(1)

Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA represents 50% of the entity’s operating results for years prior to fiscal 2019, when the joint venture was accounted for as an equity method investment. Beginning in fiscal 2019, this joint venture is now included in our consolidated results with the 50% portion we do not own being adjusted as a noncontrolling interest. We believe it is useful to include our portion of the results of this joint venture prior to fiscal 2019, as it best reflects the actual performance of our overall business and improves comparability of our financial information. The Veterinary Joint Venture EBITDA is aligned with the portion of such entity’s net loss that is included in (income) loss from equity method investees in the financial statements because such entity does not have similar items to those excluded in our calculation of Adjusted EBITDA.

(2)

Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA represents 50% of the entity’s operating results for all years, as adjusted to reflect the results on a basis comparable to our Adjusted EBITDA. In the financial statements, this joint venture is accounted for as an equity method investment and reported net of depreciation and income taxes. Because such a presentation would not reflect the adjustments made in our calculation of Adjusted EBITDA, we include our 50% interest in our Mexico Joint Venture on an Adjusted EBITDA basis to ensure consistency. The table below presents a reconciliation of Mexico Joint Venture net income to Mexico Joint Venture EBITDA:

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30,

2021

 

 

February 1,

2020

 

 

February 2,

2019

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

Net income

 

$

14,225

 

 

$

8,662

 

 

$

6,902

 

Depreciation

 

 

12,248

 

 

 

11,298

 

 

 

4,532

 

Income tax expense

 

 

6,229

 

 

 

4,107

 

 

 

3,673

 

Foreign currency gain (loss)

 

 

705

 

 

 

(406

)

 

 

164

 

Interest expense (income), net

 

 

4,740

 

 

 

4,793

 

 

 

(43

)

EBITDA

 

$

38,147

 

 

$

28,454

 

 

$

15,228

 

50% of EBITDA

 

$

19,074

 

 

$

14,227

 

 

$

7,614

 

 

(3)

Non-cash occupancy-related costs include the difference between cash and straight-line rent for all periods. Beginning in fiscal 2019, in connection with our adoption of the lease accounting standard, favorable lease rights of $125.2 million and unfavorable lease rights of $30.8 million were reclassified from intangible assets and other long-term liabilities, respectively, to right-of-use lease assets and the related amortization is now included in non-cash occupancy costs. In addition to the reclassification, the amortization period of these lease right assets has decreased to align with the terms of the underlying right-of-use lease assets, thus resulting in an acceleration of expense compared to prior years. The overall adoption of the lease accounting standard did not have an impact on our Adjusted EBITDA, as this increase in addback was completely offset in other impacted lines such as lower depreciation and amortization, asset impairments and write-offs, and store closing expenses.

50


(4)

Non-recurring costs include: unrealized fair market value adjustments on non-operating investments; class action settlements and related legal fees; one-time consulting and other costs associated with our strategic transformation initiatives; discontinuation and liquidation costs; and costs related to the initial public offering. While we have incurred significant costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic during fiscal 2020, we have not classified any of these costs as non-recurring due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic’s length and long-term impact on the macroeconomic operating environment.

(5)

We define net margin as net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders divided by net sales and Adjusted EBITDA margin as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales.

Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS

Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS are considered non-GAAP financial measures because they exclude certain amounts included in net loss attributable to Class A and B-1 common stockholders and diluted loss per Class A and B-1 common share, the most directly comparable financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. Management believes that Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS are meaningful measures to share with investors because they best allow comparison of the performance with that of the comparable period. In addition, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS afford investors a view of what management considers the Company’s earnings performance to be and the ability to make a more informed assessment of such earnings performance with that of the prior year.

The table below reflects the calculation of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS for the periods presented:

 

 

 

Fiscal years ended

 

 

 

January 30, 2021

 

 

February 1, 2020

 

 

February 2, 2019

 

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

 

(52 weeks)

 

(dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

Amount

 

 

Per share

 

 

Amount

 

 

Per share

 

 

Amount

 

 

Per share

 

Reconciliation of Diluted Loss per Share to

   Adjusted EPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to Class A and B-1

   common stockholders

 

$

(26,483

)

 

$

(0.13

)

 

$

(95,873

)

 

$

(0.46

)

 

$

(413,788

)

 

$

(1.98

)

Income tax benefit

 

 

(3,337

)

 

 

(0.02

)

 

 

(35,658

)

 

 

(0.17

)

 

 

(45,840

)

 

 

(0.22

)

Loss on debt extinguishment

 

 

17,549

 

 

 

0.08

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

460