Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Petcetera files for creditor protection

March 20, 2009 Richmond Review  1 comment

Petcetera, the Richmond-based retail pet superstore, is commencing a 60-day nationwide inventory sale to generate cash flow while it files a notice of intention to make a proposal to obtain creditor protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Starting on Saturday, March 21 the company will institute immediate price reductions of up to 70 per cent on their full range of pet merchandise.

Petcetera is a 100 per cent Canadian owned and operated limited partnership. Since opening its first pet superstore in 1997, the Petcetera chain has grown significantly, employing 1,600 people at 49 locations from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador.

“In light of the recession’s impact on the Canadian retail industry, we have to take drastic measures in the short term to ensure that Petcetera continues to be viable long after the downturn is over,” said Dan Urbani, president and CEO of Petcetera.

As part of its restructuring activities, Petcetera will review all areas of its business including store numbers and locations. The extent of restructuring will depend directly on the success of the inventory liquidation sale.“We are facing a formidable challenge and are prepared to make the tough decisions needed to ensure that Petcetera can continue to serve Canadians and their pets for years to come,” Urbani said.

Comment by Carmina: Anybody who knows a bit about Petcetera isn't surprised. www.rabbitadvocacy.com  Photo taken at Grandview/Rupert store

Richmond-based pet store chain Petcetera seeks creditor protection

March 20, 2009 Fiona Anderson, Vancouver Sun

Richmond-based pet store chain Petcetera, once named one of Canada’s hottest startups, has filed for creditor protection, the company announced today. “In light of the recession’s impact on the Canadian retail industry, we have to take drastic measures in the short term to ensure that Petcetera continues to be viable long after the downturn is over,” Petcetera president and founder Dan Urbani said in a news release.

Urbani opened the first store in Vancouver in 1997 and grew the limited partnership into Canada’s leading pet superstore chain with 1,600 employees and 49 locations in Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Trouble was first sounded last May when a group of former employees filed a complaint with the British Columbia Labour Relations Board alleging the company terminated almost half its workforce in an attempt to bust a union drive. But the company said it had to lay off staff because it wasn’t doing well. As part of its restructuring, the company will review all of its business including store numbers and locations, the company said in the release. It will also start a 60-day nationwide inventory sale on Saturday including price reductions of up to 70 per cent in an effort to generate cash flow.

"We are facing a formidable challenge and are prepared to make the tough decisions needed to ensure that Petcetera can continue to serve Canadians and their pets for years to come," Urbani said. "Throughout this process, we will provide the same expert advice and wide range of pet products and services that our valued customers have come to expect from Canada's leading retail pet superstore."

Retail sales in British Columbia have been falling steadily since October, 2008, with sales in January 8.5 per cent lower than a year earlier, according to numbers released today by Statistics Canada.

March 21, 2009 (News 1130) Lorie Chortyk, SPCA spokesperson, said that it has about 200 cats and dogs in Petcetera stores throughout BC.  She said that the SPCA will be checking on the animals every couple of days to ensure that the “level of care remains acceptable.”

SPCA bit by Petcetera woes 

March 31, 2009 Jeff Nagel - North Shore Outlook

Troubled retailer Petcetera's move into bankruptcy protection has frozen $55,000 it owes the B.C. SPCA. SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk confirmed the animal protection agency is among the creditors affected. "We're certainly hopeful that money is coming through," she said. "We're in a position like everybody else that we have to wait and see." 

The frozen funds includes $39,166 in sponsorship money from last year, part of which was to support the SPCA's Pet Express program that transfers animals from rural B.C. to the Lower Mainland, where adoption is often easier. Another $15,810 is from adoption fees Petcetera had collected but had not yet remitted on SPCA shelter animals that were adopted through its stores. 

The money is now frozen along with all of Petcetera's other capital and assets. The company is to file a proposal to creditors in the weeks ahead that could – if it's accepted – see them recover some but likely not all of their outstanding claims. Petcetera is continuing to operate and is selling off inventory to increase cash flow. 

There are still 200 pets from SPCA shelters at Petcetera outlets. "We're not pulling the animals we currently have in there," Chortyk said. "But we're not moving any more animals in to Petcetera at this time." She said the SPCA wants to ensure animal welfare isn't affected by the retailer's reorganization before adding more to the satellite adoption program. Fees are expected to flow normally from future adoptions at Petcetera. "We hope they do continue to operate and that we can continue to partner with them," Chortyk said.

East Vancouver location of Petcetera locked up today

Dispute between the pet supply store and landlord over rent
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 Richard Dettman Vancouver (News 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Petcetera is in court trying to reopen one of its Vancouver stores.  The struggling chain of pet-supply stores says the landlord locked its Rupert and Grandview location this morning in a dispute over rent.

But Petcetera Vice President Richard Kaga tells News1130 the company is protected because it's under trusteeship and a monitor while it reorganizes. Kaga says staff are being allowed into the store to care for the animals.  He says Petcetera will be back in court Friday morning, trying to get the store reopened.  No other Petcetera location was affected.

B.C.-based Petcetera files for creditor protection

March 21, 2009 CBC excerpt

James Brander, an economist with UBC's Sauder School of Business, said the company is essentially buying time. "It's trying to sell off some inventory, trying to generate some cash [and] basically trying to fix itself up so it can survive in the long run," Brander said.

Employees like Tisha Anderson are confident the company will survive. (an April 4th comment revealed that Ms. Anderson is a head office employee and does not work at store level.  Evidently she was given a uniform and posed in a nearby store for the press interview.)  "We haven't been told the company is going out of business. I know a lot of people have been coming in asking if the company is going bankrupt. That is not the communication we've been given," she said.

Comment:  There have been numerous remarks posted online regarding Petcetera.  Overwhelmingly, people are saying that Petcetera was a terrible company to work for, with managers made to work 12-16 hours daily but paid for 8, stores poorly staffed and managed, staff routinely hired with no pet industry experience, no training of employees in animal husbandry, sick animals, dead animals and fish, extremely high employee turnover, bad store standards, exorbitant prices for poor quality goods, inferior customer service, and such.  Animals were sold to anybody willing to pay the price, exploited solely for financial gain.  

For the last several months or more, inventory was arriving late, if at all, because the vendors and/or creditors hadn’t been paid.  Inside sources told us months ago they just accepted what was shipped and that there was no point in requesting specific merchandise.  Porter Transport was one of the companies used for distribution.  A manager said that 18 of the 49 stores are currently losing money; that’s roughly 36%.  The Kelowna store abruptly closed in early September, 2008, leaving employees locked out.  Although it reopened in late November in a new location at the Capri Mall, reports are that it’s not doing well.   

Apparently theft is very high, yet little or nothing is done to prevent loss.  The Park Royal store has a sign in the back room reminding employees that their bags must be checked at the end of their shift.  Somebody estimated that the average gross income of a Petcetera store was between 1/4 and 1/3 of the industry average per square foot.  The majority of the resources were spent on rapid expansion.  Retail space was rented, not bought.  Petcetera was experiencing financial difficulties long before this “economic downturn” and is conveniently using it as an excuse for its troubles.  If this company manages to restructure on a smaller scale, I  wouldn’t bet on job security. The “sale” designed to generate cash flow may or may not take care of  some immediate and pressing concerns, like covering bank loans or government debts that the directors or officers of Petcetera could be held liable for.  However, is any institution willing  to risk a line of credit at a later date even if current creditors are satisfied?  And if the suppliers aren’t paid what they are already owed for inventory, how does Mr. Urbani expect to restock the shelves in future?       

Under the CCAA (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) a company must owe more than 5 million, and if the judge grants the stay, has 30 days to come up with a plan to satisfy at least two-thirds of the creditors, which would include shareholders (by $ value). So, once they file we'll see if they can come up with the plan. Otherwise there may be a new headline in 30 days about bankruptcy.

April 18, 2009 CKNW News 980 reported that the Petcetera Rupert store has had its doors closed again, the second time this month.  Back rent is owed to the landlord.  Richard Kaga, Executive Vice President, said the Court ruled against the Richmond based chain late last night, and the store will remain closed this weekend.  Petcetera will be in court again Monday to appeal the decision or to launch a new action. Financial obstacles continue to plague the company as it struggles to avoid bankruptcy. The $20 million inventory blowout, with 20-70 per cent off merchandise is heavily publicized.  Petcetera recently filed for court approved creditor protection. 

Concerned for the welfare of small critters, a Vancouver vet clinic recently took in about two dozen hamsters from Petcetera.  The Rupert store had a white female lop with blue eyes in the PAWS centre, which we suggested to Vancouver SPCA staff that she be returned to the branch.  However, on Friday, April 17th, she was brought to the Arbutus Petcetera by the SPCA, and was "adopted" from the PAWS centre, by people who filled out the cat application form, and who had absolutely no knowledge about rabbits.  There was no screening done by Petcetera or the SPCA.  Melissa was bought on impulse, and for a 12-year-old.  A volunteer at the Vancouver SPCA has spoken to the mother and hopes the bunny will be returned on Monday.  She was, which was a great relief to all of us. 

April 28, 2009 Financially strapped Petcetera has announced it is closing four of its stores in May, two in Alberta, and two in Ontario.  

May 31, 2009 Petcetera staff on shift today at 7488 King George Hwy. said they are hoping the store stays open.  Flyers throughout the store and on the website advertise that it's your last chance on the inventory blowout sale, with 50% off all merchandise, except for some pet food and cat litter.  The sale is expected to go until June 7th.  Meanwhile, the new manager at the Park Royal location said new stock is expected in a couple of weeks.

June 7, 2009  On numerous visits to various store locations over the last few months, and in speaking with employees, it's obvious the communication from head office to store staff is less than forthright.  As to the "sale," it's hardly that at all.  Prices are still too high and some of the food has passed its expiration date.  Some potential customers have not been buying because of the no-return policy, and are questioning consumer protection laws. The matter of purchasing defective or damaged products is a concern.  I wonder how much the BC SPCA has been told.  After all, there is a business relationship between the two, and animals, the great majority being cats, are in the PAWS program, awaiting 'adoption.'  Some 1200 animals are rehomed annually through this arrangement.

Petcetera files for bankruptcy; stores will be closing

1,500 employees across the country will be out of work
June 16th, 2009 Richard Dettman NEWS1130

RICHMOND - The Petcetera chain of pet-supply stores has given up the fight to stay in business. Richmond-based Petcetera has filed for bankruptcy, meaning its 45 remaining stores will be closed and about 1,500 employees fired.

Last month it closed four stores in Alberta and Ontario, firing about 100 employees.  The company filed for protection from its creditors in March, announcing a storewide sale to raise cash to stay in business. However, it has now been taken over by receiver PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which will liquidate the merchandise before closing the stores. Petcetera was founded by Dan Urbani in 1997 with a single store.

Richmond-based Petcetera files for bankruptcy 

June 16, 2009 Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Richmond-based pet store chain Petcetera, once named one of Canada's hottest startups, has filed for bankruptcy, the company announced Tuesday. “I’m not sure how long the liquidation process is,” Petcetera marketing director Julie Belanger said in an interview Tuesday. “It depends on the inventory.” Belanger said the company’s 45 stores will close across the country, putting about 1,500 employees out of work.

In March, the company filed for creditor protection, citing the recession’s impact on the Canadian retail industry, and announced that four of the company’s retail outlets in Ontario and Alberta would close in May. However, the company was unable to restructure after filing for creditor protection, leading to Tuesday’s bankruptcy.

Petcetera president and founder Dan Urbani opened the first store in Vancouver in 1997 and grew the limited partnership into Canada's leading pet-superstore chain. However, trouble was first sounded in May 2008 when a group of former employees filed a complaint with the B.C. Labour Relations Board alleging the company terminated almost half its workforce in an attempt to bust a union drive. But the company said it had to lay off staff because it wasn't doing well.

According to its website, Petcetera offers pet owners more than 10,000 pet products as well as a full range of pet care services including pet hospitals, pet grooming, obedience school, doggy daycare centres, pet photography and pet licensing.

Online comment by Carmina  - June 16, 2009 I’m not surprised or sad to see Petcetera close. Mr. Urbani wasn't changing with the times, and despite a myriad of obvious problems that the average person could see, business practises weren't corrected. The lack of animal "care" was apparent, and unacceptable. Bankruptcy was inevitable.  

Comment: This news is not unexpected, nor unwelcome.  Clearly, the restructuring was unsuccessful and creditors couldn't be satisfied.  Evidently, neither were a great many people who chose not to patronize this business over the years.  The selling of animals turned off many shoppers and led them to stores that did not capitalize on defenseless creatures to turn a profit.

Comment:  We went to a number of Petcetera locations during the last few days and noticed all animals in the stores are 25% off.  On June 21st  the assistant manager in the Penticton store informed us that employees have never been treated well and that recent memos from Petcetera’s head office instructed staff to refer customers to PricewaterhouseCooper’s website for information.   On June 16, 2009, PWC’s was appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy and appointed Receiver Manager of the ’Company.’     

Petcetera declares bankruptcy 

June 24, 2009 Benjamin Alldritt - North Shore News

Richmond-based pet company Petcetera, which operates a store in West Vancouver's Park Royal Shopping Centre, has declared bankruptcy. On June 16, a Vancouver judge tasked PricewaterhouseCoopers with dismantling the national chain. Court document indicate Petcetera owes more than $28 million to its creditors. Petcetera staff declined to comment on the bankruptcy, referring questions to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"The receiver manager plans to keep the stores open and operate them through a liquidation process expected to begin at the end of June," said PWC's Amanda Koning in a statement. "The small animals and fish purchased by Petcetera for resale will be sold, and in the meantime cared for by store staff in the same manner as before the receivership."

Koning said it will likely take three to four months to sell off Petcetera's inventory. She has also asked non-profit groups such as the SPCA to reclaim animals living in Petcetera stores as part of their adoption program.

Canadian Petcetera Limited Partnership

Receivership Process Summary

On June 16, 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. was appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy and appointed Receiver Manager of Canadian Petcetera Limited Partnership (the ‘Company’)by a court order.

The Receiver Manager plans to keep the stores open and operate them through a liquidation process, expected to begin by the end of June, 2009. During the liquidation period all animals in the Receiver Manager’s care will be tended to by store staff in the usual manner. The Receiver Manager has requested that the animal shelters and non-profit societies that provided animals to Petcetera to care for while awaiting adoption take these animals back into their custody .The small animals and fish purchased by Petcetera for resale will be sold, and in the meantime cared for by store staff in the same manner as before the Receivership.

Petcetera employs 704 active employees most of whom are being rehired by the Receiver Manager to support the efforts to liquidate the Company’s inventory over the next three to four months. 

Penticton Petcetera among 45 stores slated for closure

June 25, 2009 Kathy Michaels - Penticton Western News

Expect to see local unemployment numbers bolstered by about a dozen in the next couple of months.

After 12 years of operation, and a lengthy struggle to stay afloat, Petcetera — one of Canada’s largest retailers of pet foods and supplies — has commenced a going-out-of-business sale in all of their 45 locations. Locally that means eight part-time and three full-time employees will have to find work elsewhere, said Carolyn Forest, spokesperson for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is handling the bankruptcy proceedings. And there’s no telling when the local store will close its doors, though September is the latest it can stay open.

“On June 20, a company by the name of the Great American Group was engaged to handle the liquidation process,” said Forest. “From there they will do a liquidation sale for a short period, and close stores and consolidate inventory as levels drop off.” In recent months prices for supplies were slashed in an effort to gain some financial stability. Being as the measures didn’t work, there will be 708 people unemployed nationwide.

That didn’t work and the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The Petcetera concept was founded in 1997 by founder, owner, president and CEO Dan Urbani. The first store opened in Vancouver and today there are 45 of the trademark red, yellow and blue Urbani-designed Petcetera superstores from B.C. to Newfoundland. “It is disappointing to see Petcetera closing their stores, but consumers and their pets will benefit from the exceptional values and deepening discounts until all of the merchandise is sold,” said Steven Smith, vice-president, of financial operations for Great American Group.

July 12, 2009  Lower Mainland Petcetera stores will be starting to close this week.  The outlets we checked had sold all their animals and birds and shelves were empty.  Fixtures are for sale. On June 20, Great American Group was hired to conduct the liquidation process.


PWC has Canadian Petcetera Limited Partnership, "Petcetera LP" receivership information on its website.  As of March 20, 2009, total amount owing to creditors with claims of $250.00 or more was $28,416.072.47.  June 19, 2009, total liabilities were listed at $30,055.730.090 and total assets $10,084,627.00 leaving a deficiency of $19,971,103.90.  The long list of unsecured creditors ranges from the BC SPCA, BC Hydro, Centre Point Plaza, Minister of Finance - BC, Pan Pacific Pet Ltd., Park Royal Shopping Centre, Pet Science Ltd., Procter & Gamble Inc., and the City of St. John's.
August, 2009  Reliable sources have said that Dan Urbani is planning on reopening nine British Columbia Petcetera stores and will be selling a wide assortment of birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals, including rabbits!  The "new company” will operate under "new management."  Start contacting your municipal officials so that pet shop bylaws can be enacted to PREVENT THE SELLING OF LIVE ANIMALS, EXOTICS AND ALL!  REFORM IS URGENTLY NEEDED!

Read More  Petcetera reopening some stores

March 17, 2014 Petcetera to file for creditor protection under Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

Comment: Rabbit Advocacy was instrumental in having rabbit sales banned in pet stores, writing and presenting to local councils. Among our many actions, we documented conditions at Petcetera, took pictures, created petitions, and boycotted retail outlets. We also urged the BC SPCA to break its partnership with the retailer.

In early spring of 2007, Petcetera announced it would discontinue selling rabbits in all its BC stores, but only did so in the lower mainland, or in municipalities that passed new legislation banning the sales of these animals. In 2009, Petcetera filed for bankruptcy protection, closing 31 of its stores across Canada, and has now filed again. It has 18 stores across Canada.

March 31, 2014  Good news! Petcetera announces store closures and a continuation of a nationwide inventory sale

April 28, 2014  Petcetera announces 6 more store closures and a continuation of a nationwide inventory sale

Comment: Petcetera announces 6 more store closures by May 31st as it restructures. Two stores deemed not viable closed last month. This will leave only 10 stores across Canada, and 6 remaining in BC. One of the mistakes that contributed to Petcetera’s failure was its rapid expansion. Additionally, consumers are more knowledgeable nowadays, making ethical decisions when they shop, and boycotting businesses that don’t meet their standards.  

May 21, 2014 Petcetera is out of business for good! The company was forced to close or sell its remaining stores. The Kamloops, Regina, and Ottawa stores will close by June 30th. Petculture bought the Richmond store, and will open in the near future. Unfortunately, this chain sells live animals. Richmond bylaws prohibit the sale of rabbits in pet stores.   

Related: Woman regrets purchasing dog from Delta store Puppies, Fish & Critters; PJ's Pets closing 27 stores across Canada, 5 in BC