LONDON (Reuters) -British supermarket group Sainsbury's said on Tuesday it would raise pay for its workers again as it looks to attract and retain staff in a tight labour market.
The UK's second largest grocer and one of the country's biggest employers said 127,000 hourly paid workers will get a 25 pence per hour increase from Oct. 16, costing it 20 million pounds ($23.4 million).
Sainsbury's said the rise, the first ever outside of the annual pay review, would help its staff get through the cost of living crisis.
Its workers' hourly pay will go from 10.00 pounds to 10.25 pounds and from 11.05 pounds to 11.30 pounds in London.
The rise takes the pay increase for frontline, hourly paid workers to 7.9% this year. However, inflation hit 10.1% in July.
With Britain's jobless rate at its lowest since 1974 the Bank of England is watching pay settlements closely as it mulls further rises in interest rates.
Sainsbury's said it was also giving staff access to basic food items during shifts from the first week in October until the end of December and increased discounts at Sainsbury’s and Argos. That will cost it an additional 5 million pounds.
Other retailers, including market leader Tesco and John Lewis, are also upgrading perks to workers, enticing them with free food and essentials.
Sainsbury's warned in April of a drop in profit this financial year as soaring inflation raises its costs and hits shoppers' spending.
Its shares were down 2% at 0949 GMT, extending 2022 losses to 24%.
($1 = 0.8538 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by William James and Tomasz Janowski)