The minimum wage will rise from £4.60 to £4.77 for 18 to 21 year olds and from £3.40 to £3.53 for 16 to 17 year olds.
The hike, which has been implemented by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, will affect a huge number of retail workers and will heap pressure on both multiple and independent retailers already struggling with rising costs against a backdrop of slowing consumer spending.
Retail union Usdaw welcomed the rises. General secretary John Hannett said: It will increase the quality of life for many of our members, the majority of whom are women."
"However, we are disappointed that the Low Pay Commission's recommendation to lower the age for the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage from 21 has been rejected. Usdaw will continue to campaign for the adult rate to be paid at 18. We will also keep campaigning for a significant increase for 16 and 17 year olds, to make sure they are not exploited at work."
The last minimum wage rose in October 2007.