Pet food and supplies chain Pet Valu is shutting down its U.S. stores and warehouses.
The retailer said Wednesday that it will close its 358 locations and its office in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Liquidation sales are expected to begin “in the coming days.”
With stores throughout the Northeast and the Midwest, Pet Valu blamed a “severe impact from COVID-19.”
“The Company’s stores have been significantly impacted by the protracted COVID-19-related restrictions,” Pet Value chief restructuring officer Jamie Gould said in a statement. “After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to commence this orderly wind down.”
The move comes despite an increase in spending on pets throughout the country during the pandemic. Rival retailers like PetSmart have been thriving.
More than one-third, or 34%, of pet owners have increased their pet-related spending since the pandemic began, according to a new survey by LendingTree. Only 17% are spending less, while the rest are spending about the same.
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As the economy has foundered, though, some Americans are struggling to pay for the costs of owning a pet.
An estimated 10 million pets could be displaced in the coming months because of renters at risk of eviction during the pandemic, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Pet Valu said its U.S. shutdown plans do not affect its about 600 locations in Canada. The U.S. stores were licensing the Pet Valu brand from the Canadian operation.
The company said it will continue to accept Pet Valu gift cards and loyalty rewards purchases. But its U.S. website will immediately stop accepting orders.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.