Wayne, Pa. — Pet Valu Inc., a specialty retailer of pet food and supplies, has opted to wind down its U.S. operations. The retailer will close all 358 stores in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as its warehouses and its U.S. headquarters office in Wayne.
No timeline for closures was disclosed, but Pet Valu is currently doing final liquidation sales for all its merchandise. Additionally, the retailer is marketing all of its store fixtures, furniture and equipment for sale.
Pet Valu Inc. licenses its name from Pet Valu Canada, which is a separate, unaffected entity that will retain its 600 Canadian stores and corporate headquarters office in Markham, Ontario, as well as its e-commerce site.
Roark Capital, an Atlanta-based private equity group, purchased Pet Valu in 2009 and merged the retailer with Pet Supermarket in 2016 to form Pet Retail Brands, though the combined company continued to operate its stores under the original brand names of Pet Valu and Pet Supermarket.
Pet Valu cites severe impact from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in its decision to wind down operations. According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since March has totaled nearly 9.5 million with 233,767 deaths. The shutdowns and capacity restrictions in recent months proved detrimental for the pet food retailer, according to Jamie Gould, Pet Valu’s recently appointed chief restructuring officer.
“The company’s stores have been significantly impacted by the protracted COVID-19-related restrictions,” says Gould. “After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to commence this orderly wind down.”
In addition to its pandemic-related struggles over the past few months, competition in the pet food and supplies industry is at an all-time high. National brands such as PetSmart, Petco and online pet food giant Chewy have benefitted from an uptick in sales during the pandemic as a result of their heavy investment in curbside and delivery options, according to CNBC.
Pet Valu has appointed William Transier, founder and CEO of independent financial restructuring firm Transier Advisors, as independent director to its board of directors. The retailer has also retained Malfitano Partners as its restructuring advisor, SB360 Capital Partners LLC to assist with store closing sales and A&G Realty Partners LLC to assist on U.S. real estate-related matters.
— John Nelson