Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced a pay rise for more than 40,000 of its staff, marking the second salary increase this year as the retailer responds to cost-of-living concerns.
The retail giant will also hand a £250 M&S voucher to 4,500 employees at pre-management levels in its stores and support centres.
The pay rise will bump up the firm’s minimum hourly wage to £10.20 from October 1, which had already been pushed up to £10 from £9.50 in April, bringing it above the national and real living wage.
The support package will cost the business around £15 million, M&S said on Wednesday.
Staff at M&S are entitled to a number of benefits, including free everyday food items and sanitary products all-year round, the firm said.
Workers at its distribution centre in Castle Donington, Leicestershire, are also set to receive one free meal per shift.
It comes as the UK’s second largest supermarket chain Sainsbury’s unveiled a £25 million package last week, raising its minimum wage and offering free food during shifts.
Hourly pay will be lifted from £10 to £10.25 an hour for around 127,000 employees from October, taking it just above M&S’s newly-announced base wage.
Stuart Machin, chief executive at Marks & Spencer, said: “Whether you’re running a home or running a business, everyone across the country is feeling the pressure of rising costs.
“We want to do what we can to help ease some of that strain; that is why we have invested in price to deliver better value for our customers, and why we are investing in our colleague base pay for the second time this year.
“Our colleagues are our biggest asset, and we want to ensure they are fully supported and rewarded for the remarkable contribution they make to M&S.”
M&S is among a series of large employers that have unveiled measures to support staff during a period of higher living costs, with food inflation at its highest level in more than a decade.
Retail giant John Lewis announced a £500 one-off cost-of-living payment earlier in September for all of its full-time workers.
The UK’s consumer price inflation rate hit 9.9% in August and economists warn it could climb higher this year.
Graham Bennett, chair of M&S’s National Business Involvement Group, said “Cost of living is the most talked about issue amongst our colleagues and we very much welcome the package of support from M&S.
“We are pleased our leadership team has listened to colleagues and responded, and we will continue to work closely with them as we head into what is the busiest time of year for retail.”
It is the first time that M&S has introduced an additional autumn pay review as cost concerns have become front of mind for employees, the company said.