Sports Direct to pay huge staff bonuses

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The Independent Online

Sports Direct is expected to reveal this week a bumper bonus share scheme for about 2,000 full-time staff for the two years to 2013, alongside a rise in its half-year profits.

Under its current two-year scheme, the sportswear retailer will award eligible staff shares equal to 75 per cent of their base salary if – as forecast – it hits profit targets for the 12 months to April 2011. In a pre-close trading update in October, Dave Forsey, the chief executive of Sports Direct, said the "bonus share scheme has played an important role in delivering this strong performance".

While the privately-held John Lewis Partnership is lauded for its employee bonus structure, the scheme of Sports Direct – which has in the past been criticised for its "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" approach – is one of the best incentive plans among listed retailers.

Sports Direct – controlled by its deputy executive chairman Mike Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United FC – will on Thursday reveal the bonus scheme for 2011/12 and 2012/13, which will cover the London Olympics and Euro 2012 football tournament.

Exact details are of the arrangements are unclear, but it is likely to be of a similar structure to the current scheme, first unveiled in July 2009, based on Sports Direct hitting full-year targets for underlying earnings.