Sports Direct is to hand its staff a payout worth more than £50,000 this summer after the sportswear giant met its profit targets under a lucrative share scheme.
The retailer will award 2,000 employees an average 12,000 shares in August, which — based on today’s stock price of £4.42p — are worth £53,000 each. This payout is addition to the typical award of £15,000 made last August.
The share scheme that Sports Direct started in 2009 is more generous than the much-lauded staff bonus paid by the John Lewis Partnership. And more payouts are on the cards for employees from Sports Direct’s ongoing bonus programme, as the retailer today said it was “certain” of hitting its target of underlying profits of £270 million for the year to April 28.
The group, which Mike Ashley, pictured, founded from a store in Maidenhead in 1982, has powered through the consumer downturn and its strength helped to send rival JJB Sports into a grave last year. The 470-store-plus chain grew its total sales by 14% to £317 million over the nine weeks to March 31, boosted by surging online revenue.
Sports Direct will put to shareholders a new “super-stretch” bonus for Ashley, its deputy executive chairman and owner of Newcastle United Football Club, in September. The group is likely to increase his target from £290 million to £310 million for 2014.
Dave Forsey, Sports Direct’s chief executive, said: “The strength of this nine-week performance continues to show the resilience of our business model, notably in the UK.”