German budget supermarket Lidl will boost wages for thousands of its workers in the UK, it said yesterday.
Lidl said entry-level wages will increase from £8.75 an hour to £9 an hour outside of London and from £10.20 to £10.55 an hour within the capital.
The increase will come into effect from 1 March next year, benefiting over 17,000 Lidl employees and costing the supermarket more than £8m.
The raise will mean that Lidl employees receive a salary more than 10 per cent higher than the legal minimum, the so-called national living wage, which was detailed in last month’s budget.
The move, and a similar announcement from Amazon last month, could put pressure on retail rivals to raise wages given low employment levels.
Lidl’s UK boss Christian Hartnagel, said: “Our employees are amongst the most talented and hard working in the industry, and we are committed to supporting them both inside and outside of the workplace.”
The news comes as new figures from the British Retail Consortium and audit firm KPMG show that UK retail sales were broadly flat in October against the same period last year.
On a like-for-like basis UK retail sales increased by 0.1 per cent from October 2017, the figures show.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “October kicks off the all-important golden quarter, with some retailers earning the majority of their annual profits in these months alone. But with October’s like-for-like sales flat lining at 0.1 per cent, it was a bit of a non-starter.
“Demand was mainly dampened by continued economic uncertainty, as well as the anticipation for the deep discounting ahead.”