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PHOENIX-Focusing on building profits rather than sales, PetSmart is slowing its expansion in 2009 and beyond, executives said at the company’s second quarter conference call

Plans now call for opening between 60 and 65 net new stores in 2009, and 50 to 60 new stores in 2010 and beyond. Earlier in the year, the company had projected a 20% cut in new store growth in 2009 from the 100 to 104 new units to open this year. The company also will open 35 PetsHotel in-store pet care centers annually, down from 42 this year and the 45 originally projected for 2009.

“The world has changed, and when the world changes, we think we must change with it,” said Phil Francis, chairman and CEO. “At our age and stage, this is the best for our shareholders, irrespective of the economic cycle.”

Net sales were $1.2 billion, up 11.2% from the second quarter of last year. Comparable store sales rose 4.0%. The company reported net income of $37.2 million for the quarter, compared with net income of $47.1 million for the same period last year.

PetSmart operates more than 1,075 pet stores in the United States and Canada.

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