Dixons defends chief's pay hike

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Dixons' chairman, Sir Stanley Kalms, received a 29 per cent pay rise last year, taking his total remuneration to pounds 865,000. The package included a basic salary of pounds 608,000 boosted by a pounds 236,000 performance bonus and other taxable benefits of pounds 21,000. Last year Sir Stanley received total pay of pounds 669,000 including pounds 590,000 basic salary, and a pounds 171,000 bonus.

The pay rise caps a good year for Sir Stanley. He was knighted in the New Years Honours list, then last month Dixons reported a 35 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 135m. Dixons' shares have risen strongly on the back of strong sales and the nascent consumer recovery.

Dixons defended its chairman's pay-hike saying that last year he had waived a pounds 100,000 bonus payment as inappropriate in view of the recession. It also said the company's strong performance last year under-pinned the pay rise.

Sir Stanley joined the company when it was a one-store family business in 1948 and turned it into a FT-SE100 company with a market capitalisation of pounds 2.1bn. Dixons, whose other chains include Curry's, PC World and The Link, has been helped by improving markets and booming sales of multi- media computers. PC World, the computer superstore group, has seen sales more than double to pounds 262m. Comparative sales are sharply ahead with 7 million British households now owning a computer.

Dixons shares have been one of the main beneficiaries of a rise in consumer confidence which has also boosted shares in Kingfisher, the Woolworths and B&Q group, which also owns the Comet chain of electrical stores. Dixons shares closed down 3p yesterday at 507p.