Shares in Pets at Home remained well below their flotation price today despite the company meeting targets with a 12% rise in annual profits £110.7 million.

The boss of the retail chain, whose 377 stores include 277 veterinary practices and 129 pet pampering Groom Rooms, said it had been "a pivotal year" for the business after it joined the stock market with a valuation of £1.2 billion.

Nick Wood added: "Our results demonstrate how we are building on our leading position in the UK pet care market."

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The company claims to have a 12% share of the market, and has more stores than its five biggest rivals combined in what is a fragmented sector. During the year the firm expanded by opening 32 new pet stores, 69 veterinary practices and 42 new Groom Rooms.

It is now the largest small animal veterinary services provider in the UK after the integration of Vets4Pets, which it acquired in March last year.

Pets at Home shares were slightly higher at 217.5p today but the stock is among a number of firms that floated earlier this year which trade below their original offer prices. The stock launched in March at 245p.

In its prospectus ahead of the flotation, the company said it expected its maiden annual results to show profits of at least £110.2 million.

The group said today it added 1.5 million members to its VIP Club loyalty card last year, with the two million members now accounting for 50% of all spending.

It now carries 8,100 products on its website following a revamp in January, while it also plans to launch mobile and tablet versions of the site.

Meanwhile, the firm hopes to open 25 pet stores, 60 vets and 50 Groom Rooms in this financial year.

Mr Wood said the group was currently trading in line with its expectations.

The retailer's listing came 23 years after founder Anthony Preston opened the first Pets at Home store in Chester. Mr Preston retains a small stake in the group.