I’m searching for the best FTSE 250 dividend stocks to buy for my portfolio. Here are two UK shares whose yields beat the index average of 2.5% by a healthy margin.
Retailer Pets at Home Group (LSE: PETS) could suffer some stress in the short-term as the cost of living jumps. But I think it’s a top long-term buy as the amount we spend on our furry friends steadily rises. Analysts at Research and Markets think the UK pet food market for example will grow by almost 3% each year through to 2026.
Pet ownership has recently soared as people sought companionship during Covid-19 lockdowns (a record 62% of British households owned a pet in 2021/2022). And numbers could keep growing as lifestyles change post-pandemic — for example the number of people working from home increases — and the introduction of standard tenancy agreements makes it easier for renters to own a pet.
A brilliant beast
I think Pets at Home is a great way to capitalise on this theme. Its stores and website are one-stop shops for everything your pet needs, from food and toys to veterinary care and grooming services.
Its broad range of services allow exceptional cross-selling opportunities when people are in store. This, in part, explains why like-for-like sales continue to grow strongly (up 8.7% in the three months to December).
I also like it because of its rapidly-growing ‘VIP’ loyalty scheme. This helps it fend off the competition and provide shoppers with a more personalised experience. The number of members here leapt 13% year-on-year between October and December, to 7m.
Pets at Home boasts a large 3.9% dividend yield for this financial year. The figure leaps to 4.3% for next year too.
Carry on doctors
I also think buying property stock Assura (LSE: AGR) shares is a great idea in the current climate. This is because demand for its assets remains stable during all points of the economic cycle.
This particular FTSE 250 stock builds and develops primary healthcare properties which it then lets out. Demand for medical services isn’t something which ebbs and flows, meaning Assura can expect rents to roll in during the good times and bad.
If anything, the need for GP surgeries and the like is set to grow as Britain’s population rapidly ages and the strain on existing infrastructure rises.
I also think buying property shares could be a good plan for me in this period of high inflation. The rents that companies like Assura charge tend to increase in line with broader prices, protecting me from the trouble that most other UK shares are currently facing.
Assura could suffer if government health policy changes. If NHS funding drops then profits at the business might take a big hit.
But all things considered, I think the rewards of owning this business outweigh the risks. Assura’s dividend yields for this financial year and next also sit at 4.8% and 5.1% respectively.