Karen Millen, Feather & Black and Shoe Zone have been named for failing to pay the minimum wage.

The trio are the only major retailers among 179 business named by the government in its bid to ‘name and shame’ businesses for underpaying employees.

The fashion retailer, furniture retailer and value footwear retailer were at 21, 93 and 110 in the list respectively.

Karen Millen underpaid 28 workers by a total of £9,847, Feather & Black failed to pay £1,333 among 31 workers and Shoe Zone underpaid 15 workers by £804.

Retail was the most prolific offender along with the hospitality and leisure sector. In total, 9,200 workers were owed payback and businesses were fined £1.3m for breaking minimum wage laws.

Both Karen Millen and Shoe Zone abused minimum wage guidelines by insisting that employees bought their clothes to wear as uniform rather than offering a wardrobe allowance.

A Karen Millen spokesperson said: “A routine audit by HMRC in 2016 revealed that a number of our store associates were unintentionally being paid less than the minimum wage when our wardrobe policy was taken into account. The wardrobe policy at the time required our store associates to wear Karen Millen items, which they were able to purchase at a discount.

”Karen Millen takes the satisfaction and wellbeing of our staff very seriously. Following completion of the audit by HMRC, we acted quickly to remedy the situation, including arranging to reimburse affected staff and updating our wardrobe policy to ensure there could be no reoccurrence of the issue.”

A Shoe Zone spokesperson said: “As soon as the company was made aware of this issue by HMRC, which has been common practice within retail for a number of years, management worked with HMRC to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. The company now provides shoes for all store employees and contributes financially to allow employees to purchase their own trousers.”

A Feather & Black spokesperson said: ”Feather & Black operate a base wage plus commission structure (this is at a higher level than other retailers), which incentivises our store teams to maximise both the business and their individual potential and leaves staff earning at a good level above minimum wage.

”In addition, in recent months, [new owner] Hilding Anders have agreed a revised reward structure offering a base level which is significantly higher than minimum wage as well as appropriate incentive/commission schemes.”