MARKHAM, ONTARIO — On Feb. 25, Pet Valu Holdings Ltd., a Canadian pet specialty retailer of pet products and food, announced its entrance into the Québec pet market with the acquisition of Les Franchises Chico Inc. With Chico, Pet Valu will operate nearly 700 pet specialty stores.

Founded in 1983, Chico is one of the largest franchisors of pet specialty retail stores in Québec, with 66 locations spanning the province. The company’s stores offer expert pet advice and premium pet products within 3,000 square feet.

According to Chico, its 2021 sales are estimated at about $79 million with a revenue of about $7 million.

"Entering Québec marks a key milestone in our mission to be Canada's preferred pet retailer," said Richard Maltsbarger, president and chief executive officer of Pet Valu. "The acquisition of Chico is an excellent strategic fit for both companies, as we welcome a great brand with a terrific group of franchisees and loyal customers to the Pet Valu family, with the opportunity to benefit from our scale, infrastructure and franchisee support.  We look forward to supporting Chico's continued growth within the province and serving Québec's devoted pet lovers."

Pet Valu plans to keep Chico as a separate subsidiary led by a management team based in Montréal along with the company’s co-founders Pierre Charbonneau and Michel Joy.

"I have long envisioned seeing Chico expand across Québec, to provide a place for discerning pet owners to seek expert advice and high-quality products from dedicated, neighborhood-based franchise owners," Charbonneau said. "Pet Valu is the ideal partner to support Chico's continued growth across the province, given the correlation to our values and a strong track record fostering close relationships with their franchise network across Canada."

The acquisition closed on Feb. 25 and was funded with cash on hand.

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