By Max Clarke

Sporting goods giant, Sports Direct, has delivered strong performance, posting gross total sales of £236 million for the first 9 weeks of 2011; an record increase of 10.3%.

"We are pleased with the progress made by the Group and these results continue to highlight the strength of our Retail division and the drive from our investment in margin and advertising,” commented the Group’s chief executive, Dave Forsey.

The strength of the chain’s performance reflects a general boost in the UK’s retail sector, which has seen a surprise surge in sales despite squeezed household incomes.

Key to their successes are, the Group’s board of directors believe, down to their bonus share scheme.

Staff across the nationwide retail chain have recently been offered performance related pay bonuses. Such a move has motivated the 10,000 strong workforce, improving employee engagement and ultimately delivering increased performance.

"The Board also believes that the Bonus Share Scheme that covered FY10 and FY11 has been a significant contributor to our success. It is our intention to extend the scheme for FY12, FY13 and beyond incorporating more aggressive targets”, Forsey continued.