MIKE Ashley’s retail business Sports Direct has continued to shrug off the consumer spending slump with a strong set of results and the possibility of a £12m shares payout for the Newcastle United owner.
Ashley, who is the discount clothing retailer’s executive deputy chairman, currently receives no income from Sports Direct but he did net £929m when he sold 43% of the business in February 2007.
The 397-store chain, which owns brands including Slazenger, Donnay and Karrimor, said retail sales were up by 8.2% to £697.1m after a strong performance in an “especially fragile consumer environment”.
Its underlying earnings rose by 2% to £139.2m in the six months to October 23 and the interim figures mean Sports Direct is on course to hit its full-year target of £215m, which would trigger the staff bonus scheme.
A new bonus scheme was introduced earlier this year that runs for four years and requires targets to be hit in each year.
But for Ashley’s shares bonanza to kick in, the group must hit a £225m target this year and further “super- stretch” targets in subsequent years.
It is proposed that he will receive six million shares – with a current value of around £12m – in 2018 if the targets are all met and shareholders approve the scheme.
The current staff bonus scheme, now in its second year, rewards around 2,000 Sports Direct staff with share payouts when the company hits its targets.