Symancyk has more than 25 years of industry experience, most recently for three years as president and CEO of Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Massey left a few months after the privately owned pet retailer acquired online rival Chewy for $3.35 billion. Earlier this year, Chewy co-founder and CEO Ryan Cohen stepped down and was replaced by Sumit Singh, who joined Chewy last year from Amazon.
Pet supply retail has grown in recent years, as rising pet ownership in the U.S. helped retailers in the category weather the Great Recession. Retailers including grocery stores and mass merchants like Walmart and Target have expanded their offerings to challenge specialty players, PetSmart among them.
Amazon, too, seems intent on capitalizing on the opportunity in the category. Pet products on Amazon grew over 40% last year and now make up over $2 billion in Amazon's sales annually, according to One Click Retail. The e-commerce giant has also selected the highest moving categories within the segment, most recently introducing a private label pet food, dubbed Wag, according to One Click Retail's report earlier this year.
For its part, Chewy is growing and so far seems like a feather in PetSmart's cap, but Symancyk has some serious challenges to grapple with. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the privately held retailer likely isn't in danger of bankruptcy anytime soon, but it's hobbled by $8 billion in debt amid the increased competition in the market. Still, Petsmart has no debt maturities until 2022, and, in addition to "plenty of cash" enjoys access to a $750 million asset-based line of credit, the Journal reports.
The company's latest fiscal financials were disclosed to lenders earlier this year, showing same-store sales fell 4.5% while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization dropped 20% to $1 billion, according to unnamed sources cited by the Journal and others. But the company garnered $200 million in cash last year. Chewy's sales, meanwhile, were robust, rising 18% to $650 million in the most recent quarter, though losses in the period widened to $61 million from $56 million a year ago, the Journal reported.