Marks & Spencer is to recruit 12,000 seasonal staff to work in its stores over the busy Christmas period and value specialist Poundland is to hire 2,500.

Typically one-fifth of those who sign up for the festive period with M&S find permanent roles with the retailer.

Last year Poundland retained almost 35% of its seasonal employees.

M&S is hiring fewer temporary staff this Christmas because it has given existing staff the chance to work increased hours first.

M&S director of retail Sacha Berendji said: “Christmas is one of the busiest, most important times of the year for M&S.

“We want to do all we can to help our employees and customers at this time which is why our Christmas team will be bolstered through additional hours for our dedicated and loyal team as well as 12,000 brand new recruits.”

Poundland chief executive Jim McCarthy said: “The employment market for the retail sector is still fragile so we are proud to have significantly increased our temporary vacancies this year.”