Sports Direct to reveal bonus plans

Sports DirectSports Direct International is expected to reveal more details of its plans to resurrect a contentious bonus scheme for founder Mike Ashley on Thursday, as 2,000 staff also prepare to land bumper share windfalls.

The Sports World business is set to outline the terms of a new bonus plan for Newcastle United owner Mr Ashley after a previous scheme, which would have delivered a potential £26 million payout, was withdrawn last summer after investors threatened to reject it in a shareholder vote.
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Its full-year figures will also be keenly awaited by staff, many of whom are on track to clear another hurdle under their 2011 four-year share incentive bonus scheme.

This comes on top of a lucrative bonus scheme from 2009, which will pay out the second and final tranche of shares to around 2,000 of Sports Direct's 23,000-strong workforce in August. For an employee earning a salary of £20,000 a year in 2009, next month's payout will see them pick up 12,000 shares - worth more than £68,000.

Meanwhile, retailer Mothercare will update on turnaround progress when it publishes first quarter trading figures on Thursday.

The mother and baby goods retailer has been jettisoning loss-making stores as part of a three-year restructuring plan, and could announce more closures at an update covering the three months to the end of June.

During the year to the end of March, Mothercare closed 56 UK stores - reducing its footprint by 7.2% - to leave it with around 196 Mothercare outlets and 59 Early Learning Centre stores. The company is working towards a 200-strong estate by 2015, complemented by a stronger online division.

The cost of the closures drove it to £21.7 million in underlying UK annual losses, although the group said it is on track for a return to UK profitability.

The group has more than 1,300 stores across 61 countries, with nearly 60% of its sales generated outside the UK. It hopes to boost its international expansion, after adding 2.8% more space abroad during the year. Surging international earnings helped the group to improved underlying annual profits of £8.3 million.

Matthew Taylor, analyst at Numis Securities, said Mothercare is likely to report "continued steady progress along the recovery path" at its annual meeting. He said: "The store closure programme should be confirmed as being on track or ahead of the initial plan. We forecast continuing underlying sales growth of about 15% in the international operation, bolstered by new store openings and like-for-like growth."

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Sports Direct to reveal bonus plans

Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is a retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, it is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, it has 37 oil refineries in 21 countries.

Chevron Corporation is an energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California. It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and generation.

Phillips 66 is a holding company - created when ConocoPhillips spun off its downstream assets - that only began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, 2012. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet, is a multinational holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. The company wholly owns GEICO, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and Helzberg Diamonds, as well as half of Heinz and significant minority holdings in American Express and The Coca-Cola Company.

At number 6 on the list, it's highest ever position, is iPhone and iPad manufacturer Apple. And Fortune managing editor Leigh Gallagher told CBS News that the computer giant could be even higher up the list if companies were ranked differently. Apple breaks into the top 10 for the first time this year," Gallagher said. "But if you were to rank the Fortune 500 by profits not revenues, it would be number two behind Exxon."

General Motors Company, or GM, is a multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It employs more than 200,000 people and manufactures the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Vauxhall brands, among others.

General Electric Company, or GE, operates in four segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance and Consumer & Industrial. Its foundation dates back to 1889, when Drexel, Morgan & Co. helped Thomas Edison to merge his many electricity-related companies to form Edison General Electric Company.

Valero Energy Corporation is the world's largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer. It has 16 refineries and 10 ethanol plants stretching from the US West and Gulf coasts to Canada, United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

Ford Motor Company (also known as Ford) is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Founded by Henry Ford in 1903, it is still controlled by the Ford family, which now has a minority stake.

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High Street casualties
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Administrators sounded the death knell for Woolworths in December 2008, leading to store closures that left 27,000 people out of work. Since its collapse former Woolworths stores have become a blight in many town centres and more than 100 of the large stores still lay vacant in January 2012.

Loyal customers didn't have go without the family favourite store for long however as it reappeared online as Woolworths.co.uk in 2009, after Shop Direct Home Shopping bought out the Woolworths name.

The greetings cards specialist became the latest highstreet casualty in May with 8,000 jobs on the line when it was forced it into administration. Its biggest supplier, American Greetings, then bought Clintons out of administration and put the retailer through a rebrand including a new logo and complete in-store revamps.

Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.

Poor sales in the run up to Christmas was the final nail in the coffin for several struggling chains, including lingerie retailer La Senza, which went bust in January 2012 with 146 shops and 2,600 staff. Kuwaiti retailer Alshaya bought part of the business, which saved 60 shops and 1,000 staff.

La Senza has been struggling in a similar way to other specialist shops such as Game and Mothercare, which have been hit by cut-price competition at supermarkets and have no alternative products to help shoulder losses.

Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure, which employed 3,600 staff across 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets stores, went into administration in Janurary 2012 after failing to find an outright buyer.

Soon after its stores were bought by sportswear firm JD Sports in pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration – which saw most of Blacks' £36 million of debt wiped out.

Fashion chain Bonmarche, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold in January when the group collapsed due to unsustainable debts, resulting in 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures. Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought 230 stores, which continue to trade with 2,400 staff.

Peacocks collapsed under a £740 million net debt mountain in January 2012 in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths. Despite being sold out of administration to Edinburgh Woollen Mill in a deal that saved 380 stores and 6,000 jobs, administrators from KPMG were forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect. This lead to 3,350 redundancies from stores and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.

The high street name continues trading as bosses work to stabilise the situation, yet a further blow was dealt this month with news that the firm's pension fund is in £15.8 million shortfall as a result of the collapse.

Game buckled under its £85m debt pile in March 2012 and was placed into administration after being unable to pay a £21m rent bill. Administrator PwC immediately closed 277 shops, with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Soon after, investment firm, OpCapita bought 333 Game stores, saving more than 3,000 jobs.

Game's demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including leading names Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing the latest games, further damaging poor sales.

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