It seems that more and more people are keen to get out and play some footie (or just wear the latest trainers) in tough economic times, as Sports Direct’s profits rose 14.3% to £317.4m and gross profits rose 22.7% to £129m in the nine weeks to March 3rd.
This marks a triumph for the chain, which has been benefitting hugely from the collapse of JJB Sports last year. It’s also got a burgeoning online retail operation, and earlier this year it announced the acquisition of Republic clothing chain, further adding to its extensive portfolio.
So how will the staff get their money? Founder Mike Ashley put in an extremely generous share bonus scheme for staff back in 2009, which said that if the company hits targets then they can collect shares worth around 75% of their base salary.
But because the company’s share price has rocketed in recent months, this now means that a participating employee earning £20,000 will be holding shares worth around £50,000. That is a mega windfall for a shop assistant, for example.
Chief executive Dave Forsey said: ‘The strength of this performance during the nine week period continues to demonstrate the resilience of our business model, especially in the UK.’
Can’t argue with him there.