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Pet Retailing- It’s now more than dog food, it’s fashion ret
by: John Stanley
In previous articles I’ve often written about the trend towards lifestyle retailing. This is reflected in trends in the garden and home improvement industries. But, one of the most dramatic shifts comes from the pet industry, which is going through dramatic changes.

Why Pets?
Pets aren’t pets anymore, for many people, they are “child” substitutes. In countries such as China and Japan pets are actually replacing the child due to government directives to encourage smaller families.

In the west ‘Generation X’ are starting families later in life to enable them to develop their careers, whilst baby boomers are learning to cope with empty nests. The result is both the west and east is seeing the same, a pet boom to replace children. This means that the traditional pet store is finding it’s increasingly difficult to understand the desires of the modern pet owner and, as in other retail sectors, traditional retailers are being squeezed out of the market place by global pet supermarkets and niche lifestyle pet stores who are reading the market differently. I recently conducted a retail workshop in Dubai, for retailers from around the Middle East. The Dubai retail scheme is always interesting, throwing up leading edge ideas for those interested in retail trends.

The Dubai upper-class enjoy their pets and the pet shop has become a “to be seen at” destination “Doggy Diner” situated in one of the up-market shopping malls creates a theatrical window display by having the shampoo grooming parlor in the window.

Japanese Pet Retailing
In Japan, taking the dog for a romp in the park is a real challenge, due to the lack of space, but pet sales are booming and as a result lifestyle retailing for the pet industry is expanding. The Japanese have moved from artificial pets such as the Tamagotchi (the egg shaped key ring that hatched an LCD chicken or alien and sold 20 million) to real live pets. As a result in Japan alone there are 33 magazines (at last count) purely devoted to cat and dog care and entertainment.

In Japan there are pet café’s, pet clothing designer shops, pet insurance shops and the list goes on. You can even arrange a pet wedding! Or rent a pet for $100(US) a night if you feel lonely. If you already have a pet you can take it to Dog Forrest in Shizuoka, which is a Disneyland for dogs and then there are dog vacation resorts such as Dog Petit Resort, the country’s first hot springs for dogs.

Are you selling pet products or are you in fashion retailing?


About the Author

John Stanley is a conference speaker and retail consultant with over 20 years experience in 15 countries. John works with pet retailers around the world assisting them with their merchandising, staff and management training, customer flow, customer service and image. Visit www.johnstanley.cc or email us on newsletter@johnstanley.cc.