Bristol retailer Chris Ray has told the Low Pay Commission that National Minimum Wage (NMW) increases are making it more difficult for him to attract good staff.

Low Pay Commission staff visited Chris in his Premier store as part of a programme of store visits to establish retailers' strength of feeling about the wage rises. The Commission is to submit an advisory report to the government in February.

"I've always tried to pay above the minimum wage, as it makes the positions more appealing, but with the continual increases it's getting more difficult to stay ahead of the rates," Chris said.

While he supported the principle of the NMW, Chris told the Commission he was wary of further rises and the imposition of legal minimums for other benefits. "The NMW as it stands is about right in my view as an employer, but the big issue for me is the continued increase in holiday entitlement," he said. "If I were able to pay my staff in lieu of taking time off, it would be better for both me and them."

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: "In the 10 years since its inception, the NMW has increased by an inflation-busting 60%. We believe that the right decision is to freeze the NMW."