(Reuters) - Britain's Pets At Home posted a lower annual profit on Wednesday, as inflationary pressures and lower purchasing power dented demand for discretionary pet accessories such as collars and bedding.

Inflation-weary pet owners have become more conservative with their spending on luxury items like expensive toys, hurting Pets At Home's performance at a time when the veterinary sector faces regulatory scrutiny over pricing and competition.

Pets At Home said its vets growth strategy was not threatened by the probe that the Competition and Markets Authority opened into the sector last week.

The company, which also offers grooming and veterinary services, posted an underlying profit before tax of 132 million pounds ($168.25 million) for fiscal 2024, compared with 136.4 million pounds in the previous year.

Analysts on average had forecast an annual profit of about 136 million pounds, with a range of 132 million pounds to 141 million pounds, according to a company-compiled consensus.

Pets At Home said it was comfortable with current analyst consensus for fiscal 2025 underlying PBT of 144 million pounds and that over the first six weeks of the current financial year, it had seen low single-digit growth in its Vet Group business.

"Whilst the external trading environment has been subdued, overall pet care spend has proven resilient, and in the year ahead, we should begin to benefit from previous investments and key productivity programmes," the company said. ($1 = 0.7846 pounds)

(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Subhranshu Sahu)