Sales grew more for the pet food sector of Central Garden and Pet Company than the average of the company overall. The company announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter, which ended June 25.

Pet segment financial results

Third quarter net sales for the Central Garden and Pet Company pet segment increased by 20.6 percent to US$287.2 million, from the same period a year ago. In comparison, overall sales of all segments only increased 12 percent to US$514.5 million compared to US$459.4 million in the third quarter a year ago.

The pet segment experienced organic growth, as opposed to pet food company growth through mergers and acquisitions. Pet sales grew 4.3 percent, driven by higher sales of other manufacturers' products as well as strength in the professional and wild bird feed categories.

The pet segment's branded product sales were US$227.8 million, up 24.3 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.

The pet segment's operating income rose 17.7 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago to US$38.7 million and included a gain of US$2.4 million from the sale of a manufacturing plant during the quarter. Pet operating margin decreased slightly to 13.5 percent, a decline of 30 basis points compared to the third quarter a year ago.

Drivers of US pet food sales

Pet owners with household incomes exceeding US$70,000 accounted for 51% of all pet food spending in the US as of June 2015, despite representing just under 35 percent of all households. While this may not seem surprising, it’s worth noting that those owners’ share of pet food spending was only 48.6 percent in June 2014. That’s according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), compiled and analyzed by John Gibbons