One year on from the inaugural gender pay gap rankings, UK retailers’ gender pay gap figures are broadly flat.

According to BRC figures, the gender pay gap across the retail sector stood at 9.1% in 2018 against 9.2% the previous year.

This is representative of the picture across UK businesses with more than 250 employees, which shows the gender pay gap overall has shrunk a nominal 0.1% year on year to 9.6%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The retail industry is proud of its diverse workforce. Nearly six in 10 jobs in retail are held by women and over half of all jobs are part-time, enabling those with caring responsibilities to remain in work.

“While the annual publication of gender pay gap data has driven a more focused discussion about inclusion, we must not let a set of annual figures distract from the ongoing work to create inclusive workplaces.”

Gender pay gap across all quartiles

RetailerMedian gap 2018 (%)Mean gap 2018 (%)Lower quartile (%)Lower-middle quartile (%)Upper-middle quartile (%)Upper quartile (%)
Majestic Wine +2.7 +3.1  26.7 25.7 27.2 29.7
Richer Sounds +2.0 +2.7  10.1 8.3 7.6 13.3
Gear4Music +15.5 +9.2  9.7 16.4 40.3 16.4
Tapi +15.1 +0.3  22.0 18.0 18.0 16.0
Harvey Nichols +11.7 +5.4  44.6 58.2 57.0 59.2
Phase Eight 48.6 56.1 99.2 100.0 99.7 92.2
Costcutter 40.3 38.9 70.3 75.5 51 23.1
Farfetch 39.5 30.3 82.9 81.9 72.4 52.4
Kingfisher 36.1 17.9 66.4 60.5 40.4 39.7
Asos 32.7 29.7 72 70.1 67.6 41.4
Cath Kidston 27.0 36.0 97.0 98.0 96.0 86.0
Superdrug 16.2 22.4 84.0 86.0 78.0 64.0
Boux Avenue 15.6 57.7 100.0 95.0 95.0 90.0
AO.com 15.2 15.3 48.8 46.5 42 28.9
New Look 13.5 28.7 92.0 92.0 89.0 65.0
Hamleys 12.3 15.0 61.0 57.0 45.0 48.0
White Stuff 12.0 32.0 93.0 90.0 86.0 78.0
Iceland 11.8 13.5 70.5 60.4 45.1 32.4
Morrisons 11.5 14 69.4 70.9 53.3 37.2
Mothercare 11.4 43.3 90.6 93.3 92.7 77.9
Timpsons 10.7 12.2 44.5 36.6 20.0 11.4
Steinhoff 10.0 16.0 50.0 42.0 39.0 32.0
Wickes 9.4 12.8 46 47 30.0 27.0
Pets at Home 9.4 17.7 74.0 73.0 64.0 47.0
Shop Direct 9.2 22.9 58.8 60.6 61.8 43.7
Burberry 8.7 24.7 77.3 60.5 68.2 57.2
Tesco 8.5 10.9 67.1 57.9 49.4 39.9
John Lewis 8.2 12.7 63.0 63.0 57.0 44.0
Dunelm 7.9 19.2 73.1 77.5 65.9 52.2
Selfridges 7.7 13.7 66.0 66.0 56.0 60.0
Asda 7.6 12.4 74.2 63.1 54.2 34.9
Aldi 7.1 9.7 51.0 57.0 46.0 34.0
Ikea 7.1 5.9 58.6 58.1 47.6 43.8
River Island 6.7 12.1 76.2 76.8 68.3 68.3
Russell & Bromley 6.4 44.9 71.9 83.3 81.8 91.6
Michael Kors 6.3 24.6 71.1 83.2 83.2 69.1
Oasis 5.4 40.2 99 99.2 95.2 95.2
Carphone Warehouse 5.3 6.1 40 33.1 29.9 29.7
The Works 5.2 9.6 63 78 72 57
One Stop 5.1 8.8 65.3 69.5 61.5 49.7
Sofology 5.0 11.0 44.0 25.0 32.0 29.0
Argos 4.9 9.9 39 50.3 52.2 53.9
Jack WIlls 4.9 22.6 69.3 71.9 67.1 57.8
Lakeland 4.9 33.2 83.3 84.6 83.4 71.5
Topps Tiles 4.8 6.8 25.7 26 18.8 14.1
Waterstones 4.7 11.7 67.6 62.4 60.3 45.1
Robert Dyas 4.6 12.0 48.0 59.0 46.0 38.0
Mountain Warehouse 4.5 9.4 52.8 61.6 62.1 47.5
Charles Tyrwhitt 4.3 9.3 44.2 55.3 63.5 51.4
Hobbycraft 4.3 32.0 81.0 83.0 82.0 63.0
M&S 4.2 12.5 81.1 76.4 69.0 63.0
Wiggle 4.0 19.0 43.0 38.0 36.0 36.0
H&M 4.0 5.7 79.6 79.3 74.7 76.0
Holland & Barrett 3.9 9.2 70.2 71.3 68.9 60.4
Sainsbury’s 3.7 11.7 66.1 64.2 52.9 39.0
JD Williams 3.7 10.9 57 56.9 62.8 56.2
Warehouse 3.6 16.1 99.1 97.9 97 95.3
Carpetright 3.6 5.1 27.0 26.0 24.0 21.0
Ryman 3.4 10.8 67.0 65.0 60.0 50.0
Paperchase 3.4 28.3 88.2 88 81.3 74.1
Wilko 3.4 13.4 63.4 78.7 70.3 45.8
TM Lewin 3.1 19.7 40.2 54.5 45.5 39.3
Matalan 2.4 17.1 73.0 79.0 78.0 59.0
Zara 2.4 12.0 84.9 79.0 80.9 73.8
Next 2.3 18.9 68.0 82.0 81.0 60.0
Fenwick 2.2 17.6 70.7 80.9 68.9 66.1
Fortnum & Mason 1.9 2.2 42.0 53.0 52.0 51.0
Harrods 1.7 3.2 53.0 58.0 61.0 44.0
Screwfix 1.6 3.9 45.4 44.7 43.8 39.4
JD Sports 1.4 15.0 52.0 49.1 48.1 37.8
Moss Bros 0.8 +2.9 34.1 33.8 31.7 32.5
Lidl 0.5 11 45.3 45.7 45.6 30.6
Game 0.3 0.9 30.0 24.0 24.0 22.0
French Connection 0.3 5.5 89.0 78.0 86.0 79.0
B&M 0 7.9 48.6 65 64.6 43.4
Blacks 0 6.2 42.8 42.7 49.2 42.3
Boohoo.com 0 6.9 50.7 46.9 46.2 60.9
Footasylum 0 11.3 55.3 46.9 43.8 40.7
Poundland 0 10.9 55 69.6 64.9 42.6
Poundstretcher 0 15.8 52.9 67.4 61.4 53.8
Primark 0 13.8 74.8 75.8 82.5 62.9
Shoe Zone 0 17.6 75.5 83.1 89.8 74.5
Tiger 0 3.4 72.8 72 74.4 68
Debenhams 0 19.6 70.0 78.0 82.0 78.0
Crew Clothing 0 11.6 77.6 72.9 78.8 70.0
Go Outdoors 0 9.2 50.3 47.2 45.4 41.6
Fat Face 0 18.4 80.0 78.8 81.0 70.4
Sports Direct 0 7.3 49.0 45.0    
Bathstore 0 19.0 41.0 41.0 42.0 35.0

On average, a woman working in wholesale and retail earns 94p to every £1 that a man earns, ahead of sectors including construction, finance and insurance, education and real estate.

However, retail lags behind arts and entertainment, and health and social work, which on average pay women 95p and 97p respectively for each £1 a man earns.

Retail Week found 77.2% of retailers recorded a median pay gap between men and women in 2018.

Phase Eight recorded the steepest contrast between male and female salaries overall, with a 48.6% difference – though this figure was down 5.9 percentage points year on year.

Conversely, 5.6% of businesses reported that women in their organisations were paid more than men.

Tapi and Harvey Nichols recorded favourable pay for women in comparison with men, with respective salary uplifts of 15.1% and 11.7%.

Median pay gap comparison, 2017 and 2018

Retailer2017 median pay gap (%)2018 median pay gap (%)Difference yoy (percentage points)
Wickes 1.2 9.4 8.2
AO.com 8.2 15.2 7.0
Kingfisher 31.1 36.1 5.0
Mountain Warehouse 0 4.5 4.5
Michael Kors 2.0 6.3 4.3
Hamleys 8.1 12.3 4.2
Wiggle 0.3 4.0 3.7
Dunelm 4.8 7.9 3.1
Cath Kidston 24.0 27.0 3.0
Steinhoff 7.5 10.0 2.5
Matalan 0 2.4 2.4
Aldi 4.8 7.1 2.3
Charles Tyrwhitt 2.0 4.3 2.3
Costcutter 38.3 40.3 2.0
White Stuff 10.0 12.0 2.0
River Island 4.7 6.7 2.0
One Stop 3.2 5.1 1.9
Iceland 10.0 11.8 1.8
Zara 1.1 2.4 1.3
Fortnum & Mason 0.8 1.9 1.1
Ikea 6.1 7.1 1.0
Holland & Barrett 2.9 3.9 1.0
JD Sports 0.4 1.4 1.0
M&S 3.3 4.2 0.9
Burberry 7.8 8.7 0.9
Ryman 2.6 3.4 0.8
Argos 4.2 4.9 0.7
Topps Tiles 4.1 4.8 0.7
Harrods 1.0 1.7 0.7
Warehouse 3.0 3.6 0.6
Next 1.7 2.3 0.6
Jack WIlls 4.4 4.9 0.5
Paperchase 3.0 3.4 0.4
John Lewis 7.8 8.2 0.4
Game 0 0.3 0.3
Waterstones 4.5 4.7 0.2
H&M 3.9 4 0.1
Tesco 8.4 8.5 0.1
Superdrug 16.1 16.2 0.1
The Works 5.2 5.2 0
B&M 0 0 0
Blacks 0 0 0
Boohoo.com 0 0 0
Footasylum 0 0 0
Poundland 0 0 0
Poundstretcher 0 0 0
Primark 0 0 0
Shoe Zone 0 0 0
Tiger 0 0 0
Oasis 5.5 5.4 -0.1
Pets at Home 9.7 9.4 -0.3
Debenhams 0.3 0 -0.3
Morrisons 11.8 11.5 -0.3
Crew Clothing 0.4 0 -0.4
Selfridges 8.2 7.7 -0.5
Hobbycraft 4.9 4.3 -0.6
Lakeland 5.6 4.9 -0.7
Go Outdoors 0.7 0 -0.7
TM Lewin 4 3.1 -0.9
Carphone Warehouse 6.2 5.3 -0.9
Fat Face 1.0 0 -1.0
Robert Dyas 5.8 4.6 -1.2
Farfetch 40.7 39.5 -1.2
French Connection 1.6 0.3 -1.3
Asda 8.9 7.6 -1.3
Sainsbury’s 5.1 3.7 -1.4
Shop Direct 10.7 9.2 -1.5
Moss Bros 2.5 0.8 -1.7
Wilko 5.7 3.4 -2.3
Lidl 3.0 0.5 -2.5
Carpetright 6.5 3.6 -2.9
JD Williams 7.3 3.7 -3.6
Screwfix 5.7 1.6 -4.1
Fenwick 7.0 2.2 -4.8
Timpsons 15.8 10.7 -5.1
Russell & Bromley 11.7 6.4 -5.3
Phase Eight 54.5 48.6 -5.9
Sofology 11.0 5.0 -6
Sports Direct 6.7 0.0 -6.7
New Look 20.9 13.5 -7.4
Asos 40.9 32.7 -8.2
Bathstore 9.0 0.0 -9
Mothercare 25.3 11.4 -13.9
Boux Avenue 75.7 15.6 -60.1

Retail Week found that 46.4% of retailers have reported an increase in their median gender pay gap year-on-year.

Home and DIY retailer Wickes posted the starkest increase in its median pay gap year on year, followed by AO.com.

By contrast, 39.2% of businesses recorded a narrowed median wage gap between men and women year on year, with Boux Avenue leading the way.

The lingerie retailer, which reported the largest median pay gap in 2017 of 75.7%, narrowed its pay divide to 15.6%.

Writing on retail-week.com, Boux Avenue boss Theo Paphitis attributed the decline in its median wage gap year on year to increased gender diversity in its warehouses, where 79% of employees are now women.

However, Paphitis warned retailers’ gender pay gap figures, including Boux Avenue’s improvement, must be taken in the proper context.

He said: “To skew the statistics and be viewed more positively for the gender pay gap data could mean either not hiring any men at all – not good news for the 4% we do – or swapping our store staff for men, also not a good thing for the women on the shop floor because of flexible arrangements that, most importantly, work for them.

“We must understand why the statistics for Boux Avenue are different and challenge what lies underneath, rather than jump on to the ‘headline’ bandwagon without full context.”

Second to Boux Avenue was Mothercare, which reduced its median pay gap to 11.4%, followed by Bathstore, which eradicated its median pay gap entirely in 2018 from 9% in 2017.