Asos founder and chief executive Nick Robertson has awarded staff £2.8m in a special bonus which he is covering personally, Retail Week has learned.

Robertson informed staff of the cash surprise in an email last night. It followed Asos’s disclosure of strong full-year results showing a profits rse of 37% to £54.7m on sales up 39% to £769.4m. Yesterday Robertson and other senior Asos managers sold shares in the etailer worth £100m.

An Asos spokesman confirmed Robertson’s decision but made no further comment other than to describe it as a”nice gesture”.

Robertson is not the first retail chief executive to have personally given away money to staff. In April this year Next chief executive Lord Wolfson decided to waive a £2.4m bonus he was entitled to and instead shared it out with almost 20,000 employees who had been with the company since June 2010.

Wolfson also told his staff about their unexpected bonus in an email in which he said it was a “gesture of thanks and appreciation from the company for the hard work and commitment you have given to Next over the past three years and through some very tough times”.

Asos has been one of the most successful retailers of recent years and has been successfully expanding internationally. Yesterday Robertson said that the company’s target of sales of £1bn was now “firmly in our sights”.

Last year Asos increased staff numbers by 318 to 1,352 as t bolstered departments including womenswear, merchandising, technology and customer care.