Saving scheme comes up trumps
About 50,000 Tesco staff across the UK will share a£148 million payout - the largest in the grocer's history.

Employees are celebrating the bonus as two of its Save As You Earn (SAYE) share schemes mature.

More than 6,000 of Tesco's most fervent savers stand to net more than£7,000 - a 120 per cent return on their original investment - as the Tesco share price stands at well over£4.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: 'Our staff are the main reason why so many people choose to shop with Tesco and, through Save As You Earn, they can share in the success that they achieve through all their hard work.

'Share schemes are an important part of our industry-leading benefits package and I'm delighted that so many people have chosen to invest and reaped the rewards they deserve.'

Under the SAYE scheme, Tesco staff can set aside a fixed sum (between£5 and£50) from their salary every month for a three- or five-year period.

When the scheme matures, employees have the option to buy Tesco shares at a price set when they joined the scheme - for about 20 per cent less than the share price at the time.

Employees who joined the scheme five years ago can buy shares at the 2001 option price of£1.98 each, while those who joined the scheme three years ago can buy them at the 2003 price of£1.95.

Tesco is the UK's biggest private-sector employer, with more than 260,000 staff.