Man's best friends and their many health and beauty needs have been a boon for PetSmart's business, its chief executive said Wednesday.
"We have a business model we call resilient. It's not really recession-proof," Robert Moran told CNBC. Pet owners — or "pet parents," in Moran's world — have "evolved where pets are members of the family. They really haven't traded down all that much" during the recession .
Pet owners also don't hesitate to open their wallets when it comes to food and services for the family pet. They are buying more organic foods and appreciate PetSmart's in-store pet hospitals, "doggy daycamps," and grooming services.
Relationships trump sales and "we put more on customer service" than competitors, including Petco, Moran said.
"I don’t care if our associates don’t sell something every day, I care more about the relationship they build with the customer," he said. He wants PetSmart to be the "place to go for their pet supplies and pet solutions. We’re really in the solutions business."
He called that a "great model to be in. I pinch myself every day to be involved in this company. I love this company and I love our associates and I love our pet parents."