Marks & Spencer is investing £89m into retail staff pay – the largest sum it has ever devoted to colleagues.

Marks & Spencer Liverpool

The initiative will bring Marks & Spencer’s UK retail pay to “at least” £12 per hour, which the retailer said was in line with the real living wage.

M&S has also made “significant improvements” to its UK maternity, paternity and adoption leave policies “to support colleagues through life’s big moments”.

The changes, effective from April 1, lift the rate of pay for 40,000 UK customer assistants from £10.90 to £12 per hour – a 10.1% increase year on year.

Customer assistants working in London will receive £13.15 – a 9.1% increase from £12.05.

Team support managers’ pay will go up from £12.20 to £13.05, or from £13.35 to £14.20 in London.

M&S chief executive Stuart Machin said: Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer and that starts with being the most trusted employer. That’s why today, we’re making our biggest-ever investment in our retail pay offer to recognise our colleagues for the vital role they play each day. It means that since March 2022, we’ve invested more than £146m in our retail pay offer and increased our standard hourly rate by more than 26%.

“But creating a great place to work isn’t just about pay; it’s about the overall package and colleagues feeling valued and able to be their best. That’s why, in addition to our pay increase, I’m delighted to announce some significant improvements to our family leave policies.”

Changes include the introduction of six weeks’ paternity leave at full pay and doubling fully paid maternity and adoption leave to 26 weeks.

M&S court victory

Aldi has lost an appeal against a High Court ruling that found it had copied a Marks & Spencer light-up gin bottle.

The three judges who heard the appeal decided that the judge in the original case last year was “fully entitled” to make the decision he did.

An M&S spokesperson said: “We take intellectual property seriously and will always defend our rights against infringement – companies that seek to copy rather than innovate harm hundreds of small suppliers who have invested in innovation to grow their business.”