Sports Direct employees have cashed in on a £112m bonus scheme after deciding to bank their bonus award at the first opportunity.

The retailer announced to the stock market on Tuesday that the Sports Direct Employee Benefit Trust had placed 17 million shares at 660p, following staff cashing in their windfall.

The share award, part of a 2009 bonus scheme that was provided to full-time staff, comes as Sports Direct faces criticism after it emerged last week that 90% of its staff were on zero-hour contracts.

Under the incentive scheme, employees earning a £20,000 salary will receive a payout worth £79,000, assuming they received 12,000 shares.

The value of the shares has soared since they were given in 2009 to all full-time staff who had been at the company for a year and would be there for another four. Sports Direct’s fortunes have improved vastly since 2009 - in July it reported profits had soared 40% to £200m in the year to the end of June.