Northern Ireland

Company confident despite Darren payout

Darren Clarke
Image caption Darren Clarke got a £2m bonus from Dunlop after winning the Open

Leisurewear retailer Sports Direct has said it remains on track to meet its profit targets despite having to make a £2m payment to Open winner Darren Clarke.

Under the terms of Clarke's deal with Dunlop, a brand controlled by Sports Direct, the company had to make the pay-out in the event of him winning a major championship.

The company, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, posted sales of £368m in its retail division in the 13 weeks to July 25, up 0.8% on a year previously.

Its retail profits for the period dropped 6.6% to £156m.

However, it said it remains on course to meet its full-year target for underlying earnings of £215m.

Staff at the company, which also owns the Slazenger and Lonsdale brand, will get their own bonus if the company delivers that figure in April.

About 2,000 employees have already received average share payouts worth more than £40,000 after the company hit its profits target for the second year in a row.