The increase in minimum wage will make it harder for retailers to maintain and create jobs according to the British Retail Consortium.
The 2.5% hike, which came into effect on Saturday, brings the minimum wage to £6.08 an hour from £5.93. The rise is disproportionate according to the trade body, which had urged the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to recommend a lower rise, which it says would be more in line with economic realities.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Supporting jobs in the current climate is essential. While most retail jobs pay above the minimum wage, increases inevitably push up salaries across the board and make it harder for companies to maintain and expand their workforces.
“The retail sector has a long record of jobs growth but the latest figures show a fall. Retail employment cannot be taken for granted.”
Next year’s minimum wage rise is now being considered by the LPC. Retailers are calling for an increase of no more than 2.1% next year to ensure the minimum wage doesn’t add to the pressures on the sector.
The trade body is also pushing for more notice on decisions to help retailers manage their budget.