Petsmart Revamps Strategy

Every pet owner needs two bowls for every pet, and Petsmart likewise needs two reviews.

The pet-supply superstore chain, now in the final stages of a creative review, is in the initial stage of planning for a second search—this time for its estimated $20-25 million media planning and buying business.

The new review, like the creative contest, will be a national search which will include incumbent Publicis, Seattle.

It will be conducted by Select Resources International here.

The Phoenix-based client plans to begin its media search immediately following the conclusion of the creative review. A list of final creative contenders is expected this week with a decision announced at the end of this month.

Both media agencies and full-service shops will be invited to participate in the media search, including the contenders in the creative review.

“Petsmart is looking for the best media partner and the most effective steward for its media investment,” said Catherine Bension, president of SRI.

Working with the advertiser on the new search will be SRI senior partner and media expert Cheryl Kroyer.

In the past, Petsmart has spent the bulk of its ad dollars on spot broadcast.

Neither review involves the brick-and-mortar operation’s online sibling,

The leading retailer in a huge category—Americans buy more pet products and services every year than they do videos, music and toys put together—Petsmart is in the midst of a brand strategy repositioning.

The company is moving from a warehouse-oriented approach to a specialty-store positioning.

The company continues to be expansion-minded.

In the second quarter of this year, Petsmart opened 18 new superstores. It currently owns 505 pet superstores in the U.S. and 20 in Canada, compared to 476 as of Aug. 1, 1999.

For the 13 weeks ending July 30, Petsmart reported an increase in net sales of 4.5 percent to nearly $539 million, up from $516 million for the comparable period in 1999.