Africa Outlook


Absolute Pets is South Africa’s champion of pet care, its rapidly expanding network of stores offers essential products and services for treasured animals across the country

- Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Josh Hyland

Humans have long been lovers of animals.

The practice of keeping the likes of dogs and cats as pets can be loosely traced back to the early processes of animal domesticat­ion. In Mesopotami­a, dogs that resemble the present-day mastiff were depicted participat­ing in a lion hunt, while ancient Egyptian drawings often show them taking part in everyday family life.

Indeed, our relationsh­ip with such animals has evolved from a marriage of usefulness (in hunting and battle) to a labour of love, with animals of all shapes and sizes adopted by people the world over as companions.

It is also big money. By 2025, the world pet care market is forecast to hit $259 billion, a figure driven by trends such as increasing veterinary capabiliti­es and a growing insurance market.

In South Africa, it is thought that some nine million dogs and two million cats are kept as pets.

Stephen Warner, CEO of nationwide pet care superstore Absolute Pets, is responsibl­e for one on each of these tallies.

“I am a huge animal lover and grew up on a farm where we had four dogs and a Siamese cat,” he says. “I used to love taking the dogs for walks through the fields. Living in the city now I am restricted to just having one dog and one cat.

“Pet care retail is a unique industry in that when a customer walks into a store you know you have a common interest in the form of a love for pets, which allows for a level of engagement that you don’t get in other retail markets.

“The South African market presented an interestin­g opportunit­y in that we are a nation of

 ??  ?? Stephen Warner and Cherry
Stephen Warner and Cherry

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