Staff at Marks & Spencer could pick up an average of £3,500 each after a £40m New Year windfall.
About 11,500 of the retailer’s employees, including shopfloor workers, will receive a slice of the bonus after signing up to the five-year share-buying scheme in 2000.
Staff were entitled to pick up stock at just £1.56p a share, about 20% less than the market-price, when it was introduced in 2000.
Chief executive Stuart Rose’s turnaround of M&S drove the shares up to £5 last year and several other share price schemes are also due to mature.
Workers who saved the maximum amount of £250 a month in the five-year share-buying scheme made a gain of £39,000, a 260% return on the original £15,000 investment.
The retailer has also put aside a £60m bonus pit but will only decide how much of the cash to hand out to its 65,000 workers after the March year-end.