Shares were climbing 64% to $29.52 at last check.
The San Diego-based company raised $864 million in an initial public offering, selling 48 million shares for $18 each. The company had marketed sales for $14 to $17 a share.
Goldman Sachs and Bank of America were the lead banks for the IPO.
CEO Ron Coughlin told CNBC that 3.3 million new pets joined families last year as the coronavirus pandemic kept people close to home. He said that he expects that pet boom will continue into the first half of 2021.
“People are at home, they’re a little depressed and they want a bundle of joy in their life,” Coughlin said. “So we’re going to help feed those pets, we’re going to help train those pets, groom those pets and vaccinate those pets. I think it’s actually good for America and our souls and it’s good for Petco.”
Petco will continue to be controlled by its current owners, which include CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which acquired the company in 2016 from TPG and Leonard Green Partners in a $4.6 billion deal.
Petco said in regulatory filings that it operates roughly 1,500 stores across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico. Some offer pet care services, veterinary advice and vaccination clinics, and the company also has a digital health service.
Petco had a loss of $25 million on net sales of $3.58 billion for the 39-week period ended Oct. 31.
The company, which was founded in 1965, had gone public in 1994 before going private in 2000. Then it went public again in 2002 before going private again in 2006.