Verlinvest acquires a stake in Tom&Co, enabling the pet retailer to accelerate growth across Europe
Brussels, May 31, 2022 – Tom&Co, the Belgian pet shop chain, has signed an agreement with Verlinvest, the Belgian growth equity investor, to acquire a stake in the chain. The injection of new capital, which has yet to be agreed by the relevant competition authorities, will enable Tom&Co to accelerate its growth and become a key player in Europe.
Expansion of the retail chain and excitement around pets
Tom&Co was founded in 1991 in Jette. In 30 years, the chain, supported by its franchisees, has grown rapidly to become a recognised brand and an increasingly specialised pet retail chain. Today, the company is the category leader in Belgium and is growing rapidly in France. Tom&Co differentiates itself based on its omnichannel shopping experience, exclusive product ranges, services and expert advice, in order to meet the ever more specific needs of its customers. The Belgian independent chain currently has 180 stores, 129 of which are in Belgium, 2 in Luxembourg and 49 in France.
Tom&Co has achieved record results over the last two years. Its sales have grown by 15% in 2020 and 10% in 2021 to reach 264 million euros. “Boosted by the excitement surrounding pets, now considered full-fledged members of the family, our sector is flourishing and has strongly grown in recent years,” explains Thierry le Grelle, the company’s CEO and co-shareholder. “Thanks to the significant investments we have made, and the dynamism of our franchisees, Tom&Co is expanding rapidly.”
A new strategic shareholder to become a European leader
Founded in Brussels in 1995 by AB InBev’s family shareholders, Verlinvest invests primarily in high-growth companies active in consumer products, healthcare, and digital retail. Verlinvest currently supports the development of some 30 companies across Europe, Asia and the United States.
“We are very pleased to welcome Verlinvest as a new shareholder because Verlinvest shares our long-term vision and is an expert in building strong brands,” said Thierry le Grelle. “Its knowledge of the consumer goods and digital sectors and its international network will enable us to accelerate our expansion in Europe, particularly in France and in the Benelux, the development of our exclusive brands, and our digital transformation. With the support of this new shareholder, we will be able to actively participate in the consolidation of the sector through acquisitions and thus achieve our ambition to become a leader in the European market.”
“There is a huge opportunity in Europe’s pet market for a player like Tom&Co, which has created a strong brand in Belgium and France and is offering specialised products alongside excellent customer service” adds Roberto Italia, CEO of Verlinvest. “Drawing on both our regional and sector experience, in petcare and FMCG more broadly, we are well positioned to support Tom&Co through this next period of growth and to achieve the European ambitions of this Belgian retail flagship. I look forward to beginning this partnership with Thierry, his talented team, and Tom&Co’s network of exceptional franchisees”.
Verlinvest is an international, family-backed evergreen investment company. It partners with visionary entrepreneurs who are driving consumer revolutions and building the next generation of category-defining brands that will positively impact the consumer sector for many years to come. Established in Brussels in 1995, with additional offices in New York, London, Mumbai, and Singapore, Verlinvest focuses on growth-stage companies in FMCG, health and care, and digital retail, which are restless to accelerate growth. The firm has over €2bn in AuM and counts brands such as Oatly, Vita Coco, Tony’s Chocolonely, Heads Up For Tails and Who Gives A Crap among its portfolio, alongside alumnus Chewy.com, Vitaminwater and Remy Cointreau.
Founded in 1991, Tom&Co just celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. With 180 stores (most of them franchises), the company is now the leading pet shop chain in Belgium (129 outlets) and is growing rapidly on the French market (49 stores). It is also present in Luxembourg (2 stores). At Tom&Co, pet owners can count on the know-how of a team of experts every day. In addition to an assortment of 8,000 products and specialised and exclusive own brands, Tom&Co offers many services and advice: grooming salons for dogs, cats and rodents, dog wash, adoption of animals in collaboration with shelters, access to training courses, … In addition to its network of stores, Tom&Co also has an e-commerce site (www.tomandco.com) that offers a Click/Reserve & Collect service (reservation & collection in store within 24 hours) as well as Delivery (home delivery within 48 hours).