On top of the £89m investment in retail pay, M&S will spend an additional £5m annually on a new six-week paternity leave policy, while also doubling maternity and adoption leave to 26 weeks at full pay, effective 1 April.

“While the increase comes with a big cost, it is also commercially savvy as it will allow M&S to retain good staff, attract new ones and keep the company at the top of the most desirable UK retailer to work for,” GlobalData retail analyst Neil Saunders told Just Style.

Saunders is of the opinion that shop floor service is a vital part of M&S’s proposition, particularly at a time when the UK retailer is pushing “premium brands” and building a new approach centred around “added value”.

“It’s key for M&S to have highly trained, engaged people to deliver the experience shoppers want,” Saunders added.

Also effective 1 April, M&S will raise the pay for its UK customer assistants. The hourly rate will increase from £10.90 to £12.00 per hour, aligning with the UK’s Real Living Wage, which is higher than the current statutory National Living Wage.

This is a 10.1% increase from the previous year and a 26.3% jump since March 2022.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

London-based customer assistants will also see their hourly rates increase, with hourly pay rising from £12.05 to £13.15, reflecting a 9.1% increase on the previous year. For Team Support Managers across the UK, hourly rates will increase from £12.20 to £13.05 per hour, with their London counterparts enjoying a raise from £13.35 up to £14.20.

According to Saunders, M&S has a record of treating all workers within its supply chain and business fairly.

“This may not be the primary reason as to why customers come to M&S,” he said. “But it throws a very warm halo around the brand.”

Stuart Machin, chief executive of M&S, commented:  “Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer – and that starts with being the most trusted employer.

“Since March 2022, we’ve invested more than £146m in our retail pay offer and increased our standard hourly rate by more than 26%. But creating a great place to work isn’t just about pay; it’s about the overall package and colleagues feeling valued and able to be their best.”

In addition to the pay raise, M&S is also upgrading its benefits package to include a 20% staff discount, enhanced pension contributions, Sharesave schemes, life cover and a number of health and wellbeing perks.

Last year, M&S introduced a Neonatal Leave Policy, offering up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave to employees with babies requiring specialist care.

In January 2024, M&S saw clothing and home sales increase 4.8% to £1.24bn in its Q3 results, thanks to improved customer perceptions of style, quality and value as well as a re-energised omnichannel service.