Almost half (46%) of consumers would be deterred from shopping with a retailer that does not pay its staff the living wage, according to an ICM survey conducted for Retail Week.

The news comes amid an intense focus on employment rights in the run-up to the general election and will concern retailers that are fighting the industry’s reputation for low-paid jobs.

The report also found that 71% of people believe businesses should be forced to state whether they pay the living wage.

Labour wants to put rules in place to ensure publicly listed companies report whether they pay the living wage or not.

Shoppers appear reluctant to sacrifice their principles for low prices. Less than one in four consumers (24%) believe low prices are more important than staff being paid the living wage.

Labour’s campaigning against zero-hours contracts in the run-up to the election appears to have struck a chord with the public.

Three in five (59%) consumers believe employers should be banned from using zero-hours contracts and 45% of people say they would be less likely to shop at a retailer that used zero-hours contracts.

ICM associate director Kate Bewick said: “Zero-hours contracts are not currently widely associated with the industry but employment terms are an area where retailers are going to have to be really careful, especially if it becomes a legal requirement to report if they are paying the living wage.

“You could think of it as another aspect of CSR – we are treating our suppliers fairly but what about the people that work directly for us?”

Shoppers in Northern England and Scotland are most likely to boycott a retailer over the use of zero-hours contracts.