Woolworths is seeking regulatory clearance from Commerce Commission New Zealand to purchase a 55 per cent stake in PETstock.

Last year, Woolworths sold five per cent of its stake in Endeavour Group to free up capital to make a $586 million investment for 55 per cent of family founded business Petspiration Group, which owns PETstock.

Now New Zealand’s competition watchdog is currently looking into whether the acquisition of the New Zealand operations will lessen competition in the pet care industry.

PETstock’s New Zealand operations include 15 physical ‘PETstock’ stores, and websites PETstock.co.nz, pet.co.nz and petpost.co.nz.

Through these channels, it sells a range of pet products including pet food, cat litter, pet accessories and pet health products. It also provides advice and related services such as dog grooming, water testing, pet training and veterinary services.

Woolworths currently sells a range of pet products through its Countdown and Metro stores, and franchised Super Value and Fresh Choice outlets.

Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group, said speciality pet is a large and growing retail segment in which Woolworths has limited presence.

“Specialty pet is a logical adjacency given the high penetration of pet ownership across Australia and New Zealand.

“We will work together to support Petspiration’s growth through access to our retail capabilities in areas such as Digital and eCommerce, Supply Chain, Retail Media, Format and Network Development, and Advanced Analytics.”

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the Pet Industry News e-newsletter.