Pet Valu enters Quebec by acquiring Chico

Buying the province's largest pet store franchisor is the logical next step in become Canada's top pet retailer.

Pet Valu has acquired fellow pet specialty retailer Chico, marking its first foray into the Quebec market.

Pet Valu plans to maintain the Chico banner and operate it as a separate subsidiary led by a dedicated Montréal-based management team and founders Pierre Charbonneau and Michel Joly. This is in line with the company’s multi-banner approach, as it also owns and operates the Paulmac’s Pets, Bosley’s, Tisol and Total Pet stores.

Founded in 1983, Chico is Quebec’s largest network of pet franchises with 66 franchise locations that generated system-wide sales of $79 million and revenue of approximately $7 million in 2021. Most of those stores are small format and under 3,000 square feet, designed to emphasize premium products and getting expert advice from store staff.

Between its corporate-owned and franchise locations, Pet Valu has over 600 stores across Canada, located in every province except Quebec. Richard Maltsbarger, president and CEO of Pet Valu, says entering the province is a key milestone to being the country’s top pet retailer, adding that Chico in particular is “an excellent strategic fit” given the companies’ shared emphasis on engaging retail experiences marked by expert advice and premium products.

He adds that another goal of the acquisition is to continue Chico’s growth within Quebec.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, beyond the fact that the deal closed Friday and was completed with cash on hand.