Arcadia has retrospectively paid dozens of interns who worked at its head office up to a year after their placements ended.

The fashion group has sent cheques worth hundreds of pounds in total to interns who had worked in the PR department of the company’s London head office, The Guardian reported.

The retailer said the cheques had been sent out after an internal review of intern placements.

Former interns said they had been used to ship clothing to journalists from a “windowless” stockroom.

Former Miss Selfridge intern Emily Wong, who worked at the retailer for a month in April 2011, received a cheque for £851 after complaining about her lack of pay to HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC is keen to rid the fashion industry of unpaid labour and bring in a minimum wage for those over 21. The body has been visiting designers and fashion houses to ensure all workers are paid what they are owed.

Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green said: “We’ve done everything we think we’re supposed to do. We’ve built an academy. We’ve got 700 kids working. We try to encourage other people.”