The Company currently operates 21 veterinary clinics where pets can receive vaccines and get treated for minor illnesses. Walmart plans to reach 100 clinics within the next year. Expansion will begin with nine new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area later this month and in June.
The retail giant is also getting into the online pet pharmacy business through WalmartPetRx.com, going up against PetSmart-owned website Chewy. Walmart’s site offers low-cost prescriptions for dogs, cats, horses and livestock, from over 300 brands.
A Company spokesperson said Walmart has seen a roughly 60% increase in the number of dog- and cat-related health care items sold on its web site over the past year. The retailer is also noticing a rise in demand for organic pet food options. In response, Walmart is stocking up on more health-conscious brands like Blue Buffalo and Greenies.
Industry rivals have taken advantage of pet care market growth as well. Chewey.com filed for an IPO last month, Target (NYSE: TGT) partnered with popular dog-toy maker BarkBox, and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) even has its own pet food brand called Wag.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), a record USD 72 Billion was spent on pets in the U.S. last year. Spending is expected to exceed USD 75.3 Billion this year, up from USD 60 Billion just four years ago.