Sports Direct International cheered staff and investors with a profits upgrade as the group held its annual conference for employees and suppliers at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium.
The sportswear retailer - controlled by Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley - said pre-tax profits were running ahead of market expectations, currently at £295 million.
It also confirmed underlying earnings were in line with forecasts for £380m, which will trigger a multi-million pound share payout in September under the staff bonus scheme.
This year’s annual underlying earnings target of £300m was the last hurdle for the payout under the 2011 employee share bonus scheme.
With all targets secured, the scheme will pay out five million shares this September and a further 19 million shares in 2017, worth more than £34m and £130m respectively at today’s prices to eligible staff.
Sports Direct is holding its annual conference at St James’ Park after Newcastle narrowly avoided relegation on Sunday by beating West Ham 2-0.
The group is laying on food, drink and entertainment for around 900 staff and suppliers at the all-day yearly conference, which is expected to last until late into the evening.
It is thought staff will get the chance to play football on the pitch.