WHSmith, Marks & Spencer, and Argos are among companies that have been named for failing to pay the minimum wage, according to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

The retailers are among around 200 companies called out by the government following investigations regarding minimum wage issues between 2017 and 2019.

According to the DBT, around 63,000 employees were left almost £5m out of pocket as a result of “a clear breach of national minimum wage law”.

WHSmith underpaid 17,607 workers by a total of £1.02m, M&S failed to pay £578,391 to 5,363 of its workers and Argos reportedly underpaid 10,399 of its workers by £480,094.

WHSmith’s underpayment was reportedly in relation to a uniform policy and a spokeperson told The Times it was a “genuine error”.

They added: “Following a review with HM Revenue & Customs in 2019, and in common with a number of retailers, it was brought to our attention that we had misinterpreted how the statutory wage regulations were applied to our uniform policy.”

The various retailers involved have since paid what they owed and it is understood the DBT “accepted that not all underpayments had been intentional”.