British retailer Sports Direct today unveiled a 40 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £207.2m, in what chief executive Dave Forsey called a "record-breaking year for the group and for British sport".
The 400-store retailer, 64%-owned by Mike Ashley, has seen its shares rise more than 40% over the past year, while sales were up 30% to £2.19bn.
Some Sports Direct staff will now share a £126m shares bonus after the jump in sales and profits. About 21 million shares will be distributed to 2,000 of its 24,000 staff under a bonus scheme.
The company, which also owns Sports World and Lillywhites stores as well as brands such as Slazenger and Dunlop, said the bonus would be worth 75% of base pay for the majority of eligible employees, with others receiving about 25% of salary.
Chief executive Dave Forsey said: "The results for the year have benefited from the Uefa European Championships and the London Olympics, but have been achieved in a retail environment that remains challenging."
Forsey warned the retailer will be up against tough comparisons in 2013/14 as it is a non-tournament year in a number of major sports.
"Whilst 2013 is a non-tournament year, there is no doubt that our compelling offer of exceptional quality and unbeatable value continues to resonate well with our customers," he added.
The retailer opened 56 new stores in the UK and Europe in the year as well as acquiring 114 Republic stores out of administration in February.
Sports Direct said trading for the first few weeks of the current financial year had been ahead of expectations.
For more information on sportswear retailing, see the latest research: UK Sportswear Retailing Market
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