Petco Sells Clothes for Causes

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Petco Sells Clothes for Causes

By Samantha Nelson - 05/18/2020

Petco has rolled out a line of branded apparel to celebrate its employees while raising money for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the retailer introduced a line of 10 #PetcoStrong apparel and accessory SKUs produced by Lanham, MD-based branded merchandise agency G&G Outfitters. Ranging from $10 T-shirts to $50 packable puffer vests, all of the items except a $15 cinch pack are approved to be used as store uniforms. The merchandise is sold online at shop.petcostrong.com, with 100% of the proceeds slated for the Petco Partner Assistance Fund. Supporting employees facing financial hardship due to natural disasters, family emergencies or other unexpected events, the fund was created in March with an initial $2 million investment from the retailer and private equity sponsors at CVC Capital Partners plus personal donations from members of the board of directors and executive leadership team.

Petco chief executive officer Ron Coughlin promised to shave his head once the new line received 1,000 orders, a goal that was achieved in three days. A video of Coughlin's son shaving his head outside a Petco store was posted to YouTube on May 12 and shared via Petco’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. A concurrent Twitter update from Coughlin promised that Petco chief marketing officer Tariq Hassan will also shave his head once 2,000 orders are placed.

The retailer has also been thanking its employees on social media and drawing attention to the work that they and other essential workers are doing during the pandemic through a “Community Champions” sweepstakes. (See Related Updates below.)

This isn't the first time the pet retailer is raising funds through sales of human product. Petco and Skechers kicked off a merchandising partnership in the U.S. last year that has purchases of select apparel, shoes and accessories from the charitable footwear collection BOBS from Skechers triggering 25-cent donations to the Petco Foundation from Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2021. The campaign also expanded to Canada at the beginning of 2020. Last month, Skechers donated more than $509,000 to the Petco Foundation to support the nonprofit’s efforts to help animal shelters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Skechers is truly making a difference,” Petco Foundation president Susanne Kogut said in a media release. “Animal welfare organizations across the country have been forced to innovate and operate in new ways, including mobilizing record numbers of foster homes to care for pets to support social distancing measures while saving animal lives. Thanks to BOBS, many of our organizations can continue their lifesaving work and connect their shelter pets with those who would like to adopt them.”

Petco has shut down all of its regular in-store adoption events during the pandemic, though consumers can still find pets available for fostering and adoption from local rescue organizations on the retailer’s website via a tool from the nonprofit Adopt-a-Pet.com.

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