Walmart on Tuesday announced that it will open more in-store veterinary clinics, starting with nine clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and eventually expanding to 100 locations over the next year, according to a company press release.
Walmart will also carry prescriptions for dogs, cats, horses and livestock from over 300 brands at WalmartPetRx.com and will offer home delivery, per the release. Starting this month the company will stock its pharmacies with the top 30 most requested pet medications.
The retailer has also expanded its pet product assortment online with a focus on more organic and grain-free food options, pet vitamins and supplements.
Walmart wants a bigger bite of the pet market. It's a strategic move, since 68% of U.S. households own a pet and 90% of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store, according to the company.
And it's a growing retail sector. According to the American Pet Products Association, an estimated $75.38 billion will be spent on pets in the U.S., up from $72.56 billion spent in 2018.
A number of retailers have recognized the potential of catering to pet owners. Last year Petco made a move to increase services with its launch of PetCoach, a wellness-focused store that includes personalized services, products and experiences for animals. In January direct to consumer company Brandless expanded its assortment to include pet products. In April, Petco announced a partnership with Shipt to deliver food, grooming, health products and additional pet supplies from nearly 1,300 Petco locations. Later in the month Petsmart revealed its plans to fetch an IPO.
But, the larger move may be about expanding service options in an effort to drive store traffic. Kohl's recently announced a partnership with Planet Fitness to open workout centers adjacent to some locations and is expanding an initiative to accept Amazon returns in-store. And earlier this year, DSW broadened its nail salon services to additional locations.