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United owner Mr Ashley after a previous scheme, which would have delivered a potential £26 million payout, was withdrawn last summer after investors threatened to reject it in a shareholder vote.

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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