Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has decided to make a large leap into the pet care industry. According to an announcement from the company, Walmart will be launching a new online pet pharmacy and will be adding veterinary clinics to a bunch of its stores. Walmart has also been expanding its pet assortment to include more health-conscious brands.
The new online pharmacy, called WalmartPetRx.com, will deliver pet medications to customers’ homes and businesses. The company expects to carry roughly 300 brands in the pharmacy. Orders costing more than $35 will qualify for Walmart’s free, two-day shipping. The company is also planning to carry the top 30 requested pet medications at its 4,500 US pharmacies for same-day pickup.
Walmart is expanding the number of vet clinics in its stores from the 21 in six states it has now to 100 over the next 12 months. The expansion will begin with the opening of nine new clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in late May and early June. The clinics will offer a variety of services, including exams, vaccinations, and treatments for minor illnesses. Walmart says that the prices for these services will be up to 60 percent less than what consumers would pay at a traditional veterinarian.
The new additions will help Walmart capture a larger share of the money Americans are spending on their pets. According to Walmart, millennial dog owners spend up to $1,285 a year on their furry friends. Much of that spending goes towards premium foods, veterinary care, and clothing for their pets. Pet care spending reached more than $72 billion in 2018, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
The industry trade group estimates spending will exceed $75.3 billion this year. Of that amount, APPA estimates $31.68 billion will be spent on food and $18.98 billion will go towards vet care. An estimated $16.44 billion will be spent on supplies and medicines and another $6.31 billion will be spent on “other services” like grooming.