Health of pets has been a major concern during the pandemic prompting Pet Express to “work like a dog” during this time of a pandemic as it moves to expand its retail “paw” print with the opening of three stores this year. In the wake of hard lockdowns, the need for pet companionship has seen a healthy surge. Pet retail stores are now deemed as an essential business, providing the needed cat and dog food that take up the lion’s share of demand. Other essential items being sold are toiletries, medicine and supplements. Pet Express will open stores in Grand Central in Monumento, Caloocan; SM Southmall in Las Piñas and in SM Clark in Pampanga within the fourth quarter in service of the growing pet community. The opening of new stores will increase Pet Express stores to 20 by the end of 2021 from the current count of 17 stores. As pet owners stocked up on pet essentials to prepare for extended lockdowns, Pet Express also saw increased volumes and online sales. At end-2020, online sales grew 98 percent versus 2019. “We continue to position Pet Express to be the supermarket store of choice of pet parents for their cat and dog needs. We also strive to be the go-to store for all our customers health and wellness needs for their pets,” Jason Go, senior assistant vice president for Merchandising at Pet Express said.