Marks & Spencer has revealed its gender pay gap, publishing the lowest disparity posted by any major retailer so far.

The department store business revealed that its median gender pay gap stood at 3.3%, while its mean was 12.3%.

M&S’ figures mean the high street bellwether easily bettered the UK average. The average median pay gap is 18.4% and the mean currently stands at 17.4%.

However, the retailer admitted the difference in its bonus payments was much larger, with a 15.9% median gap and 53.4% mean gap between men and women employees.

But M&S said 75.7% of women received a bonus, compared to just 66.3% of men.

Marks & Spencer head of talent Simmone Haywood said: “Our customers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and in order for us to understand them, our workforce needs to reflect them. Ensuring we are inclusive and having a diverse workforce is vital to our success.

“Consistent research shows that diverse businesses perform better – through innovation, better decision making, and attracting and keeping great people, meaning they’re likely to be more financially successful; increase market share; and capture new markets.

“While it’s positive that our gender pay gap is lower than the UK average, the issues at play are complicated, and we believe it’s much more important to focus on taking meaningful action to drive equality and inclusivity rather than simply the numbers themselves.

“That’s why, as part of Plan A 2025, we had already set out ambitions to extend our UK pay gap monitoring and reporting to include ethnicity, disability and age (where held) and where possible, take action to close any gaps.”

Across retail

All businesses with more than 250 staff are required to report their gender pay gaps to the government by April 4.

Last week, Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco published its gender pay gaps, revealing 8.7% median and 12% mean disparities.

But the grocer said that, after accounting for bonuses, its median gap was 27% and the mean was 42.6%.

Tesco said that “there is so much more we want to do” in its bid to wipe out the gender pay gap “altogether”.

The supermarket giant’s pay gap was larger than that of grocery rival Aldi, which reported a median gender pay gap of 4.8%.

Tesco’s UK boss Matt Davies said: “While we are pleased our gender pay gap is significantly below the UK median, we want to close the gap altogether.”

Davies also admitted Tesco had a lack of women in senior positions, but said it had exceeded its target of 25% female boardroom representation last year. The supermarket giant has pledged to increase that to 30% by 2020.