Pet Product News-July 2012-Comp : Page 1
Beginning on page 52 • Training Gear Display Ideas • Superpremium Food Trends • New Products for Store Shelves Pet Product N ews Grow Sales G COURTESY OF CAITEC JULY 2012 $5.OO PetProductNews.com ® INTERNATIONAL THE LEADER IN PET SUPPLIES MARKETING FOR 66 YEARS Boost tank sales and garner new hobbyists by focusing on ease of use and style. Promote Bonding Start Them Up Opportunities to Clickers, perches, foraging devices and speech aids can bring out the best in avian pets and promote bottom lines. By Lindsey Getz one are the days when bird own-ers kept their pet caged and on display all day. Today’s owners want to interact with their bird, whether teaching it to sit on a hand or shoulder, to speak or to perform tricks. As a result, indus-try participants reported, bird own-ers are increasingly interested in purchasing training products. By Brian Wheeler When it comes to selling begin-ner aquariums, getting new peo-ple into the hobby could very well be the biggest challenge retailers face. Inspiring new hob-byists to fall in love with fish-keeping is essential for a store’s continued success. ETHAN MIZER/BOWTIE INC. Highlighting the design and aesthetic aspects of beginner setups in-store may garner new hobbyists’ interest and can draw passersby into the retail location. The Bountiful Betta “[Bettas are] a market that most stores don’t take seriously enough,” said Cam McOuat, who co-owns with his wife, Jeannie Lister, Aquariums West in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “We sell a lot of bettas. Being downtown here, those go through offices [quickly]. One guy gets one and everybody’s got to get one.” Even though the cost of a bet-ta setup is low compared to more New Hobbyists , page 72 Strong Q1 Spurs Petsmart to Hike 2012 Profit Outlook Petsmart Inc. of Phoenix has increased its earnings per share expectations for its fiscal 2012 based on a strong first quarter ended April 29, 2012. For the quarter, the company posted net income of $94.7 million on sales of $1.6 billion, compared with net income of $70.9 million on sales of $1.5 billion in the year-ago period. “We are pleased to report another quarter of sol-id earnings growth,” said Bob Moran, Petsmart chair-man and CEO. “Our performance in the first quarter was due to strength across all three merchandising categories, as well as across services.” The merchandising categories are consumables, hard goods and live pets, which accounted for 53.1 percent, 33.4 percent and 1.8 percent of revenues respectively. Services account for 11.1 percent and other revenues, including its Banfield dividend, Petsmart , page 12 Interaction and Positive Reinforcement Birds left in a cage all the time and not trained or stimulated can develop behavioral problems, said Bonding , page 78 Digital Edition Extra Sell more training products with these tips Watch video waterers, pet o t trends foods oduct pr aquatic From the hottest er v disco starting on page 24
Promote Bonding Opportunities To Grow Sales
Clickers, perches, foraging devices and speech aids can bring out the best in avian pets and promote bottom lines.<br /> <br /> Gone are the days when bird owners kept their pet caged and on display all day. Today’s owners want to interact with their bird, whether teaching it to sit on a hand or shoulder, to speak or to perform tricks. As a result, industry participants reported, bird owners are increasingly interested in purchasing training products.<br /> <br /> Interaction and Positive Reinforcement <br /> <br /> Birds left in a cage all the time and not trained or stimulated can develop behavioral problems, said Stephanie East, owner of Stephie’s Exotic Birds in Greensboro, N.C. <br /> <br /> “They can become barkers, biters or screamers if ignored, so it’s important to interact with pet birds,” East advised. “More and more people are realizing this and wanting their bird to become socialized. If you start at an early age and train them, they learn quickly.A lot of people like clicker training and find it to be an effective training tool.” <br /> <br /> Clickers and other training methods that use positive reinforcement are gaining in popularity among bird owners, said Julie Gordon, a spokesperson for Karen Pryor Clicker Training in Waltham, Mass., which offers a clicker training kit for birds.<br /> <br /> Another company that promotes positive behavior reinforcement is Caitec Corp. of Baltimore, which recently designed a new training perch.<br /> <br /> “When training a bird, one never knows when an opportunity will present itself to reinforce a behavior that is desirable and get it on cue,” said Terry Gao, the company’s president. “To have a totally portable perch that can go on any surface while also catching the poop is convenient. It has a solid, wide base that keeps the bird feeling safe and comes apart for cleaning and transport.” <br /> <br /> In addition, Parrotopia Sandy Perch Products of Grants Pass, Ore., is working on a new version of its training stand to incorporate java wood, a tropical hardwood.<br /> <br /> “We’ve also converted a lot of our rope and toys to abacá fiber, which is a natural native product that is much stronger than traditional fibers,” said JoAnne Stuckey, the company’s international manager.<br /> <br /> Tricks, Treats and Talk <br /> <br /> Many customers at Mega Bird Store in Cocoa, Fla., express interest in teaching their birds to do tricks, owner Dona Austin reported.Clicker training and other positive reinforcement methods get the job done best, she said.<br /> <br /> “We get a lot of customers who want their bird to learn to play dead or roll over,” Austin stated.“Learning to ride the skateboards and scooters is also popular.” <br /> <br /> Mango Pet Products Inc. of Smithfield, R.I., noticed growing demand for the company’s bird scooters and as a result is expanding the line.<br /> <br /> “People love our scooters and basketball sets,” said Erik Christopher, company president. “We will have a scooter, called the Choo Choo, that can accommodate two birds. We will also be releasing the Trolley, which is a simpler design of a product we already offer.” <br /> <br /> Food can be a great reinforcement tool for training birds, said Caitec’s Gao, who noted his company offers more than 50 foraging devices.<br /> <br /> “We have a new foraging/ training unit called Mastermind that has more than one application,” Gao added. “The cones that come with the unit are made to hold food, which the bird can see and must manipulate by sliding it to the one place that will allow the treat to be dispensed.The other application for Mastermind is teaching colors. Colored cones will be available for purchase as an add-on to the unit.” <br /> <br /> Greenfeather Bird Supply in West Hartford, Conn.Also has released new foraging toys that help train a bird through positive reinforcement.<br /> <br /> “I design toys that encourage the bird to want to forage,” said Dena Tucker, designer and president.“I want to encourage a bird to use its body and mind to complete a task.” <br /> <br /> Some of the new foraging toys from Greenfeather include Rattle Revolution, which offers creative ways for birds to make noise and engage in other activities, according to Tucker. The Candy Cup Foot Toy hides a dwarf sunflower head and is designed to encourage the bird to work at getting inside.<br /> <br /> Also new from Greenfeather is Finch-Tastic, a willow ball stuffed with eco shredding that is good for finches, a category that is often overlooked in the toy market, Tucker said.<br /> <br /> Learning to Teach<br /> <br /> In helping customers learn more about training and related products, retailers may need to focus more on education, industry participants reported. Mega Bird Store holds training classes, for example, and Stephie’s Exotic Birds won’t sell a bird to an uneducated customer.<br /> <br /> “We do a lot of consulting with bird owners to make sure that they have the right environment for the bird to thrive,” East, of Stephie’s Exotic Birds, reported. “I try to educate my customers on everything that’s involved in owning a bird.”<br /> <br /> Education is critical and bird retailers play a vital role, said Susan Friedman, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Utah State University who pioneered the application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to captive and companion animals.<br /> <br /> “Retailers are very influential people,” Friedman said. “They are the first people that pet owners will come to for advice, even before veterinarians, so they are very important people in the success of that animal in the home.”<br /> <br /> INDUSTRY VOICES <br /> <br /> Which avian skills or training products are bird owners most interested in?<br /> <br /> “Potty training, controlling noise levels and speech. For speech training, Cds can help, but I like the old-fashioned use of high voice and movements to get the bird excited.” <br /> <br /> —Omar Gonzalez, owner of Omar’s Exotic Birds in Lake Forest, Brea and Santa Monica, Calif.<br /> <br /> “Speech training is very popular.<br /> <br /> We sell a lot of the Cds that you can play when you’re not home. Customers like ones with barnyard noises and songs, but all of them sell pretty well. No matter what training is being taught, the key is to always end on a positive note.” <br /> <br /> —Dona Austin, owner of Mega Bird Store in Cocoa, Fla.<br /> <br /> “Noise control is a customer’s biggest training issue. That can be a psychological issue, so there’s not always a quick solution. Books written by behaviorists are most popular. They can help the customer figure out what their bird needs.” <br /> <br /> —Barbara Hobbs, owner of The Feathered Nest in Williamsburg, Va.
Start Them Up
Boost tank sales and garner new hobbyists by focusing on ease of use and style.<br /> <br /> When it comes to selling beginner aquariums, getting new people into the hobby could very well be the biggest challenge retailers face. Inspiring new hobbyists to fall in love with fish keeping is essential for a store’s continued success.<br /> <br /> The Bountiful Betta <br /> <br /> “[Bettas are] a market that most stores don’t take seriously enough,” said Cam McOuat, who co-owns with his wife, Jeannie Lister, Aquariums West in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “We sell a lot of bettas.Being downtown here, those go through offices [quickly]. One guy gets one and everybody’s got to get one.”<br /> <br /> Even though the cost of a betta setup is low compared to more elaborate and expensive aquariums, retailers still need to pay special heed to the betta market.<br /> <br /> “Bettas are a huge way to get people into the hobby that normally wouldn’t be thinking about it,” McOuat said.<br /> <br /> A Shrinking Trend <br /> <br /> While betta setups tend to be petite in size, the beginner marketplace in general is seeing a trend toward the small as well. Smaller is better, reported Eddie Tanglao, store manager of Old Town Aquarium in Chicago.<br /> <br /> “More and more people are moving into small condos and apartments here in Chicago,” Tanglao said. “And they don’t always have the space for our larger aquariums.” <br /> <br /> Manufacturers have responded to the demand, focusing on tanks and setups that are smaller and that cater to new hobbyists’ aesthetic expectations.<br /> <br /> “The most predominate trend I see in the category is manufactures’ attention to developing products that reflect the end user’s lifestyle and modern day living environment,” said Stephen Nyugen, director of sales and marketing for Innovative Marine in Cerritos, Calif.<br /> <br /> When selling beginner products, however, Tanglao noted that it’s important to give people options and that his store encourages customers to go bigger, citing that doing so opens a wider selection of animals to choose from, can reduce problems with aggression, and that larger tanks tend to be more stable.<br /> <br /> “The smaller aquariums traditionally require more care and can be more difficult to keep,” he said.“But with the proper care and support, [they] can be quite successful.” <br /> <br /> Form Factor <br /> <br /> Historically speaking, beginner setups haven’t focused on aesthetics as much as function.<br /> <br /> “Most of the ‘beginner’ starter kits have been the usual ugly rectangular tank with the plastic lid—not something that someone with a fancy condo wants to put in their living room,” noted Aquariums West’s Lister.<br /> <br /> Affordable, contemporary aquariums kits that are easy to keep and attractive are fairly new to the beginner product category, she added.<br /> <br /> “Eight years ago, the only shape you could get an AIO [all in- one] aquarium, was in a cube form,” Nyugen said. “Now, these kits are being designed in multiple colors and shapes. These elements open the door to a new wave of aquarium hobbyist that never wanted to make exceptions to their taste and style.” <br /> <br /> When it comes to beginner aquarium setups, there have never been as many options available as there are today, he added.<br /> <br /> “The Fluval line of nano tanks are beautiful and would look good in any apartment, office or home,” Lister reported. “The Fluval Chi and the Fluval Edge aquariums are our biggest sellers for the introductory market. We steer new hobbyists this way because they are easy and attractive—and best of all, inexpensive.” <br /> <br /> Given the upgraded LED units on the second generation of Fluval Edge Aquariums, Old Town Aquarium’s Tanglao is quite excited, too.<br /> <br /> “They look amazing on our shelves and still have the same clean and polished look that we expect from the Edge,” he said.<br /> <br /> Another exciting and hot-selling product in Tanglao’s store is Marineland’s new 6-gallon cylinder aquarium, which has a seamless look and a great filter, he reported.<br /> <br /> On the saltwater front, similarly offerings are also popular.<br /> <br /> “Ecoxotic’s Ecopico has been a fantastic beginner nano tank for people with very little space—and [it] is upgradeable,” Tanglao noted.<br /> <br /> Lighten Up!<br /> <br /> Another trend that’s sweeping the beginner marketplace is the evolution of lighting technology.<br /> <br /> “LED lighting in all-in-one aquariums or small desktop aquariums seems to be growing leaps and bounds,” Innovative Marine’s Nyugen said.<br /> <br /> “In the past, small desktop aquariums only came equipped with either fluorescent or power compact lighting as the main source [for] sustaining [and] growing plant and marine life,” he continued. “The new AIO aquariums all seem to be utilizing this more cost effective and eco-friendly component.” <br /> <br /> Nano tanks with LED lighting are one of the newest developments in the beginner marketplace, said Michael Hunter at Wet World in Eagan, Minn., adding that he’s really excited about Aqua Illumination’s Vega LED module, which he said is Wi-Fi capable.<br /> <br /> Business Boosters <br /> <br /> Retailers can boost business by educating customers on the actual costs and perceived difficulties in keeping aquariums. There is a belief in the marketplace that caring for fish can be time-consuming and difficult.<br /> <br /> “Communicating that keeping fish is not that difficult is important,” said Mike Elliott, co-owner of Aquatic Life in Los Angeles. “New hobbyists can be intimidated by keeping fish and often think it’s more difficult than [it is in] reality.Offering training on keeping fish and holding the customer’s hand is a great way to get new hobbyists started. We have seen several stores work closely with local aquarium clubs to help promote the hobby and the beginners learn from the more advanced hobbyists.” <br /> <br /> When new hobbyists come in to Lister’s Aquariums West store, there’s an array of fish-and-plant setups waiting to entice them.<br /> <br /> “They will usually move toward the tank that suits their tastes and then we show them how to maintain them,” she said. “I will get a bucket, siphon and give them a little demonstration. It usually takes five minutes to explain the biweekly maintenance to them, all while I am doing a water change.” <br /> <br /> Well-decorated display tanks are important to garner interest and boost sales.<br /> <br /> “[They] have generated the sales of small aquariums considerably,” Old Town Aquarium’s Tanglao said.<br /> <br /> Part of the goal for many retailers is not to just get new customers into the hobby, but to keep them there.<br /> <br /> “The problem for me is that when you get kids into stuff, what you have to get them into is things that have babies, things that grow and things that change—like live plants,” Aquariums West’s McOuat said.<br /> <br /> Rather than sell customers a fish tank, McOuat said his store tries selling a slice of the Amazon or a slice of Fiji.<br /> <br /> “So the fish are certainly part of the show,” he stated. “But it’s nature that’s the show.”<br /> <br /> INDUSTRY VOICES <br /> <br /> What’s the best way for retailers to attract more beginner hobbyists?<br /> <br /> “Cross merchandising has always been a good way for full-line retailers to target new hobbyists. Placing small aquarium setups close to dog and cat food is a good way to promote the aquatics category to people who already shop your store and keep pets.” <br /> <br /> —Mike Elliott, co-owner of Aquatic Life in Los Angeles<br /> <br /> “The main tool that successful LFS owners use to attract beginner hobbyists is Living Displays or Wet Displays. When an owner creates a live running display, and it’s done in a smaller aquarium form factor, beginner hobbyists quickly realize that they can get that big tank feel without the big tank hassle.” <br /> <br /> —Stephen Nyugen, Director of Sales & Marketing at Innovative Marine in Cerritos, Calif.<br /> <br /> “Always have immaculate live displays. If I go into a store and I see a display aquarium that is full of algae, dying plants, a horrible layout, my impression is that [the store] doesn’t know what they are doing. This doesn’t transfer well to the customer… The goal as retailers is to inspire people.” <br /> <br /> — Jeannie Lister, co-owner of Aquariums West in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Strong Q1 Spurs Petsmart To Hike 2012 Profit Outlook
Petsmart Inc. of Phoenix has increased its earnings per share expectations for its fiscal 2012 based on a strong first quarter ended April 29, 2012.<br /> <br /> For the quarter, the company posted net income of $94.7 million on sales of $1.6 billion, compared with net income of $70.9 million on sales of $1.5 billion in the year-ago period.<br /> <br /> “We are pleased to report another quarter of solid earnings growth,” said Bob Moran, Petsmart chairman and CEO. “Our performance in the first quarter was due to strength across all three merchandising categories, as well as across services.” <br /> <br /> The merchandising categories are consumables, hard goods and live pets, which accounted for 53.1 percent, 33.4 percent and 1.8 percent of revenues respectively. Services account for 11.1 percent and other revenues, including its Banfield dividend,Overall sales increased 9.4 percent for the quarter, with comparable store sales up 7.4 percent, comparable transactions up 3.3 percent and services sales up 8.3 percent to $181 million.<br /> <br /> “For all of 2012, we anticipate comparable store sales growth in the mid-single digit range and total sales growth in the 9 percent to 10 percent range,” said Chip Molloy, Petsmart executive vice president and CFO. “We are raising our earnings per share guidance from a previous range of $3.02 to $3.16 to our current expectations of $3.19 to $3.34. For the second quarter of 2012, we are expecting comparable store sales growth in the mid-single digit range.” <br /> <br /> During its second quarter, Petsmart will reset its toy category into a Petsmart Toy Chest, which will include its new Toys “R” Us Pets collection, according to David Lenhardt, Petsmart president and COO. The quarter will also see the launch of the Bret Michaels Pets Rock line of toys, apparel, beds and other products.<br /> <br /> In the summer, Petsmart will reset its aquatic and small animal live pet sections, Lenhardt said.<br /> <br /> Petsmart’s fiscal 2012 will be 53 weeks, with the extra week expected to contribute $120 million in sales and 16 cents in earnings per share. The company also bought $175 million worth of its stock, which helps boost earnings per share.<br /> <br /> First quarter comparisons were based on 13-week quarters.<br /> <br /> Petsmart ended its first quarter with 1,241 stores after opening 14 new stores and closing five.