But it can't go up any further without hurting retailers says the BRC
Basic pay in the retail sector rose on average between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent this year, according to research by Income Data Services. The study found that many retailers have increased their lowest rates by as much as 7.5 per cent to stay above the recommended minimum wage of about£4.85 an hour.

IDS head of pay services Alastair Hatchett said: 'Many of the larger retailers have introduced new contracts for their staff that consolidate certain premiums and allowances. They have been focusing on putting more of the reward into basic hourly wages to help keep those rates higher than the minimum wage.'

The British Retail Consortium welcomed the findings of the report but cautioned that any further wage increases could have a negative impact on the sector.

It said: '[Our research] strongly suggests that the minimum wage has reached a tipping point and that any future increase is likely to see a reduction in jobs.'