Next staff handed shares cash bonus

Next About 19,400 staff at retail giant Next are to be handed a cash bonus after boss Lord Wolfson asked for a £2.4 million shares windfall to be given to employees.

All workers at the group who have been employed with Next over the past three years will receive their share of the payout in July, worth around 1% of their salary.

The bonus cheer comes after Lord Wolfson - who saw his pay leap 13% to £4.6 million last year - decided to waive his award from a share matching scheme, which has delivered hefty rewards to some 25 top executives after Next's shares have almost doubled over the past three years.

Next's annual report reveals that aside from Lord Wolfson, directors landed a combined £4.6 million worth of shares from the scheme, which launched in 2010 allowing bosses to reinvest part or all of their annual bonuses in shares, which were then matched with free stock.

Next shares have jumped by 48% over the past year alone as its trading has proved resilient amid the difficult high street conditions.

Profits rose 9% to £621.6 million in the year to January after its online Directory business boosted sales.

Lord Wolfson is among top executives who saw their combined pay packages jump by more than 50% last year to £17.6 million.

Despite giving up the £2.4 million share matching scheme award, Lord Wolfson still saw his pay surge after receiving a £1.1 million annual bonus and £2.5 million in long-term performance shares, on top of nearly £1.1 million in base pay.

Group product director Christos Angelides notched up £5.4 million in total pay and bonuses last year, including a £2.4 million long-term performance scheme payout and £1.7 million from the share matching plan.