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Pet Valu will stop operations within the U.S. and be part of the record of outlets closed by a pandemic

A dog rests in front of a Pet Valu shop.

Colin McConnell | Toronto Star | Getty Images

Pet Valu has joined the list of retailers that were permanently closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pet food and supply retailer announced Wednesday that it will cease operations at its Pennsylvania headquarters and close all 358 stores and warehouses in the United States. Sales should start in the next few days.

The pandemic sparked a pet boom in the United States as Americans sought companionship during long stays at home. Animal rescues and breeders saw an increase in the number of pet and foster parent adoptions during the global health crisis. This resulted in higher sales for a few retailers, including private pet stores Petco and PetSmart and e-commerce pet retailer Chewy. It has also inspired new services like the addition of a roadside pickup at Petco and PetSmart and the introduction of the Telemedicine service from Chewy.

That pet boom wasn't enough to save Pet Valu, however. With Wednesday's announcement, it will become the youngest retailer to be financially sidelined by the global health crisis. A growing list of companies including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Lucky Brand, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. On the list are a few companies that have closed their doors for good, including off-price Stein Mart, homewares retailer Pier 1 Imports, and Lord & Taylor department store.

Jamie Gould, Pet Valus recently appointed chief restructuring officer, said in a press release that the company's operations "have been severely affected by the protracted COVID-19 restrictions."

"After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to begin this orderly process," she said.

The company is owned by the private equity firm Roark Capital Group. Pet Valu Canada, based in Markham, Ontario, is a stand-alone, profitable company and will continue to operate its businesses and website.

In the US, Pet Valu stores will remain open until the settlement is complete. However, customers will no longer be able to place orders on the company's website.

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