In 2013, Just For Pets (JFP) faced a David and Goliath battle for survival. The Australian-owned buying and marketing group represented 65 independent Australian pet retailers that trade under their own names – the IGA of the pet industry. Despite $151 million group turnover and 180% five-year growth, the JFP group had just 2% share of the $7.6 billion pet retail market and faced the burgeoning threat of sector corporatisation.
The pet specialty category’s two major corporate players, shareholder- owned Petbarn, and private-equity funded Petstock, were acquiring smaller retailers, aggressively opening new stores and undercutting prices
of long-established independents. Unlike operator-owned JFP member stores, run by passionate and knowledgeable career pet experts often for decades or generations, these corporatised newcomers offered a huge, discounted range
and shiny branding, but mostly supermarket-style levels of service and little in-house pet expertise.
The situation was serious: in just six months competition closed six JFP member stores. The combination of resistance to change, inadequate resources, and an unwillingness to adopt JFP group purchasing, marketing, branding, core ranging and key brand alliances, made the fiercely independent stores ill-equipped to compete.
This eight-page case study details the company's response to that scenario, a response that won the brand extension category and the overall prize at the 2015 AMI Awards for Marketing Excellence.