Sports Direct profits helped by staff bonus scheme

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Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring for England against the USA
Image caption,
England's opening match in the World Cup gave Sports Direct a record trading day

Sports Direct has said it is extending its staff bonus scheme for the next two years after it played an important role in boosting profits.

The retailer announced underlying pre-tax profits of £100.7m for the half-year to October, up 40% on a year ago.

Group revenue increased 8% to £819.9m.

"There is no doubt that the bonus share scheme introduced to our colleagues last year has helped us to achieve these strong results," said chairman Keith Hellawell.

Employees would be eligible for a potential bonus of up to one year's salary, weighted 25% in shares in the financial year ending 2012 and 75% in shares in 2013, provided the group meets earnings targets of £215m and £250m in each year respectively.

Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, said it was confident of hitting its underlying earnings target of £205m this year.

The company also said it had the strongest trading day it had ever experienced on the day of the England v USA World Cup match.

However, it added that the period during the tournament was less successful and "sales correlated with the poor performance of the England team".

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