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Petco developed Reddy, a premium dog accessories and clothing brand, with millennial dog owners in mind, the type of customers who are slightly obsessed with their dogs, and who want the best for them. Now, Petco has created the first Reddy store, an experiment in experiential retail for dogs.

The Reddy store, at 125 Prince St in the Soho neighborhood of New York City, which opens today, will have a dog-friendly lounge, complimentary whipped cream “pup cup” treats, and an adventure concierge who will help owners plan activities with their pets.

Petco, PetSmart, and online pet retailer Chewy, and a host of startup pet brands are all chasing the hearts and wallets of the millennial pet parent, but Petco is the first to create a store designed specifically to cater to them.

“We’re calling it an urban basecamp for our guests – and new guests – to experience the brand,” said Nick Konat, Petco’s chief merchandising officer.

The roughly 2,000 square foot store will have stations where dogs can be custom-fitted with leashes and harnesses, or where clothing, accessories and supplies like beds or bowls can be personalized with names or decorations. The store will also carry a selection of premium dog food, nutritional supplements and treats.

Petco is hoping to expand on the strength of the Reddy brand, and if the Soho store is a hit it could lead to Reddy stores in other cities.

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The growth of the Reddy brand has been so promising that Petco was looking for ways to connect further with fans of Reddy, and to introduce it to new customers, Konat said.

The Reddy brand “was built with the urban millennial in mind, who thinks of their pet as part of their family and wants to take them on their adventures with them,” Konat said. “What better place to speak to that guest than in New York and Soho in particular.”

Petco launched Reddy in 2018, selling it in its more than 1,500 stores and online. It also has installed Reddy shops in close to 50 Petco stores.

“We’ve seen tremendous response since the launch, and we have continued growth plans to drive it as part of our overall owned brand portfolio,” Konat said.

Millennial and Gen Z pet owners are the demographic groups Petco is most interested in winning as customers, Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said in the company’s most recent earnings call in August.

“Our sales from millennials and Gen Zers continue to grow, and have reached what we believe is the highest proportion of a customer base in the pet specialty industry,” Coughlin said.

That is good news for Petco, Coughlin said, because millennials are “the major drivers of the humanization trend and therefore, shop more frequently and spend more than older demographics.”

The humanization trend – or pets as part of the family – has been boosting sales of pet products for the past decade, but the pet industry has enjoyed particularly strong growth over the past year and a half due to a surge in pet ownership triggered by the pandemic.

More than 3 million new pets joined U.S. households in 2020.

The pandemic-fueled pet demand helped propel Petco to a successful IPO at the beginning of this year. In its second quarter this year, net revenues rose 19% to $1.4 billion.

Shoppers at the Reddy store in Soho will also be able to register for services at Petco stores such as dog training classes or grooming.

The Reddy brand only creates products for dogs at the moment, but that could change.

Petco created a dog products brand, Konat said, because “we saw an unmet need – a customer who may not have kids, but their dog was part of their family and they wanted really high quality but also really innovative and stylish product to take along with their pet or to outfit their home or their apartment or loft,” Konat said.

“When you come into the Soho store it’s dogs only for right now, but we’ll see if the brand finds its way into more species in the future,” he said.

Source: Forbes

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