SWOT Analysis: PetCo

I   Organization History and Mission Statement

PETCO is a leading chain of retail stores that offers pet supplies and services such as grooming and dog training. PETCO was founded in 1965 and incorporated in Delaware. Its main headquarters is found in San Diego, California. Currently, it is a privately owned company held by Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners which acquired PETCO at a sum of $1.8 billion in July 14, 2006. PETCO leads in the pet retail and service business with a chain of outlets that offer pet grooming, training, doggie day camp, behavior classes, vaccinations, all-natural food products and pet photography.. As of 2006, PETCO has over 800 locations in 49 states and the District of Columbia. PETCO’s mission is to provide customers with a comprehensive pet store selling animal products from costumes, food, medications, pet toys and much more. It also aims lead the sponsorship of a wide variety of pet adoptions from rescue groups with other private organizations. (PETCO Online, 2007)

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II Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses

A.  First Organizational Strength: Wide Range of Services

Similar to some other popular pet shops, PETCO offers a wide variety of services that differ from traditional pet stores. Their strategy is three-fold; first in the adoption and sale of pets, second in pet grooming and training, and third in pet nutrition and care. This is considered a strength because this gives the company a level of versatility in addressing consumer needs.

B.  Second Organizational Strength: Functional Website

PETCO has a functional website, www.petco.com. Visitors in this website can make user accounts which would allow them to transact with the store online. The site allows avenues for pet shopping, locating nearby stores, availing of other products such as gift cards, and viewing of the latest news regarding animals and pet stores. The website also provides for an online community and information updates regarding company policies. This is considered a strength because online presence is an efficient marketing strategy that reaches out to people everywhere without having to go on the road. It also gathers better patronage because of the convenience of the ability to transact business online. Message boards for online communities tighter consumer-producer bonds, and give the customers an avenue to interact with management and their fellow customers thereby creating an atmosphere of hospitality and good will.

C.  Third Organizational Strength

The PETCO Foundation, since its inception in 1999, has raised more than $800 million for support of more than 3,500 non-profit animal welfare programs across the nation (PETCO Online, 2007). PETCO foundation is a strength because it gives the company media leverage with respect to advocates for animal rights who are against the sale of pets.

D.  First Organizational Weakness

PETCO’s training and grooming program is limited to dogs. This is obviously a weakness because the mainstream pet industry does not even have a canine majority, but is roughly shared by canine, feline, and avian type pets.

E.  Second Organizational Weakness

PETCO’s management was once cited to have dealt in the sale of large exotic birds. Although they have since signed an agreement to stop this practice, media might never the less capitalized on it if the opportunity arrives.

F.   Third Organizational Weakness

PETCO’s market is limited to the United States. This is less than other major pet stores such as Bioresearch which currently has outlets in Asian countries like Thailand and the Philippines (Morrison, 2001). It is a weakness because it withholds potential market share from the company.

III   Opportunities / Threats

A. Globalization of the pet industry

Globalization has been a long standing trend in the current markets. It is only a matter of time before it reaches the pet industry. This follows since the rising cultural interaction has brought the novelty of owning pets from different parts of the world to different markets. PETCO is somewhat equipped to take advantage of this opportunity using their website but their lack of branches outside the states would restrict them to delivery services which may not be so good internationally given stricter regulations on animal transport across countries.

B.  Public clamor for novelty

Nowadays, the public is always looking for something new. This search for novelty has well invaded the pet industry, with owners dressing up their pets in a variety of styles and fashion trends. PETCO plays well into this clamor with its variety of features such as pet grooming, training, doggie day camp, behavior classes, and pet photography which would surely make consumers take interest. However, the company way want to expand their training and camp services beyond canines in order to accommodate the present market.

D.  Growing concern for animal welfare

PETCO’s previous brush with animal welfare activists may exacerbate their susceptibility to the threat of radical groups clamoring for the stoppage of animal sale of any kind (Workman, 2003). However, the PETCO foundation which actually raises funds for some of these animal welfare groups may act as good leverage against bad publicity. Also, the foundation has began to advocate a “Think Adoption First” program, which encourages the adoption of companion animals as opposed to the outright purchase of them. This could also help offset the threat of radical animal welfare groups.

E.  Increased Pollution and Disease

The increase of carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases in the atmosphere has resulted to a consistent degradation of the environment. For animals, this has manifested in several diseases that has attacked, farm and domestic animals alike. PETCO’s research group that works on safe all-natural pet foods that offer no additives or preservatives may act as a countermeasure to this growing threat. The PETCO foundation may also consider broadening its scope to an environmental protection level.