Windfall beckons for Sports Direct staff

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Another record-breaking profits haul from retail chain Sports Direct kept its staff on track for a fresh bonus windfall yesterday.

The business, which is controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, reported a 16 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to £239.5m for the year to April 27.

Underlying earnings were 15 per cent higher at £331.1m, clearing another hurdle under a 2011 four-year share incentive bonus scheme for around 3,000 staff.

If the figure beats £300m in 2015, shop floor workers will be awarded 34 million shares in a payout worth an average £80,000 at today’s prices.

A scheme last year awarded a typical worker shares worth £68,000.

Sports Direct said the performance of the group has gone from “strength to strength” since the bonus scheme was launched in September 2009.

It said yesterday: “The high level of rewards for eligible participants has also proven key to employee retention, and we credit a great deal of our continued success to our loyal workforce.”

Despite the latest profits record, the company has not paid a dividend to shareholders as it wants to keep its options open for growth opportunities.

The group, which owns brands including Dunlop, Karrimor and Slazenger and has 418 UK stores, racked up revenues of £2.7bn in the year, an increase of 23.8 per cent on a year earlier.