JD Sports cancels dividend, cuts pay, defers bonuses

Bury-based retail giant JD Sports Fashion Plc said on Friday it will not pay a final dividend this year and said its senior management agreed to voluntary salary reductions of at least 25% — with executive chairman Peter Cowgill volunteering a salary reduction of 75%.

The news came as JD Sports gave an update on the measures it is taking to preserve capital amid the coronavirus crisis and said it will publish its results for the 12 months to February 1, 2020, at the later date of July 7.

The Bury firm also said that payment of bonuses and other contractual incentive payments have been deferred.

“Given the current highly unusual circumstances, the board believes that it is in the best interests of shareholders if the group maintains its cash reserves and so, accordingly, it does not believe that it will be appropriate to pay a final dividend this year,” said JD Sports in a stock exchange statement.

“It is the board’s current intention that the group would look to resume dividend payments when conditions allow, although it is important that we maintain flexibility around the timing and quantum of this commitment so as to maximise the available funding for future development opportunities …

“The board and senior management team in the group have agreed to voluntary salary reductions of at least 25% for the current period of disruption, with Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, personally volunteering a salary reduction of 75% …

“The payment of bonuses and other contractual incentive payments, due or arising in respect of individual and group performance in the year ended 1 February 2020, have also been deferred.

“It is the intention of the board and remuneration committee that these will be paid at some point after our stores have re-opened, with the timing of these payments reflecting the evidence of our actual post re-opening performance and the projected cashflows of the group.”

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