Pets at Home has promised to pay all its staff the national living wage when the new minimum rates come into force next April.
The pet supplies chain said the introduction of the NLW would cost it an extra £2m to £3m a year.
In a trading update for the 28 week period from March 27 to October 8, the retailer revealed pre-tax profit growth of 11.8% to £45.2m, on revenues of £404.5m, a total growth of 6%
Like-for-like sales grew 1.8%twith EBITDA growth of 5.1% to £60.7m and margin 15%.
During the period, it rolled out an additional six Pets at Home stores, taking the total number of stores to 405.
It added two Barkers stores, the group’s dogs-only store, which it launched last year, bringing the trial format to a total of three, while it also opened 15 vet practices and launched 10 grooming salons.
The retailer’s VIP Club reached 3.9m members, up from 3.2m at the end of FY15.
Its online orders for collection in-store increased to over 45% of total online revenues.
Nick Wood, chief executive, said: “Our core strategic drivers remain strong and I am pleased with the progress we have made in the first half of the year, highlighted by a 13.4 per cent rise in earnings per share.
“Pet services have again grown significantly, benefitting from sustained organic growth in both our vet and grooming businesses, together with encouraging results from the acquisition of our first specialist referral hospital. In Merchandise we continue to lead the market and grow our share in Advanced Nutrition foods.
“We have strengthened the business further through the implementation of our new divisional structure, whilst investment in our colleagues and seamless shopping experience continues to build our competitive and strategic strength.”
Looking forward to next year, the group aims to rollout 20-25 Pets at Home stores, five Barkers , 55-60 grooming salons and 50-55 vet practices.The group announced an interim dividend of 2p per share, growth of 11.1%.