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Workers at Sports Direct in eager wait for results

The latest milestone for Sports Direct staff hoping for another shares windfall will be reached this week when the company presents annual results.

Sports Direct looks set to report another robust set of annual results on Thursday.

The City expects the sports chain, which has around 400 UK stores and operations in 19 countries in Europe, to post underlying earnings up 13.6 per cent to £327.1 million for the year to April 14, on the back of good organic growth, acquisitions and rising online sales.

If full year underlying earnings hit £300m in 2015, shop floor staff will be awarded 34 million shares in a payout worth an average £80,000 at today's prices.

Mothercare's newly installed boss Mark Newton-Jones will reveal his initial thoughts about the retailer's prospects in the face of takeover attention when he presents first quarter figures on Thursday.

The board of the firm, which has 220 UK shops under the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, recently turned Mr Newton-Jones' interim chief executive appointment into a permanent role. But Mr Newton-Jones has said he will not complete his "root-and-branch" review of the business until the autumn.

This comes despite the Mothercare board twice rejecting takeover approaches valued at 300p a share from Philadelphia-based Destination Maternity, which has more than 1,900 retail sites.

Mothercare chairman and City veteran Alan Parker said the former Shop Direct boss had the "qualities, experience and the enthusiasm" to turn the business around and was satisfied with the timetable the chief executive has laid out.

Mothercare has been closing stores and developing its internet offer as part of efforts to turn its UK business around.In May it recorded UK losses of £21.5m after sales fell by 7.5 per cent.

The impact of SSE's self-imposed energy freeze will be disclosed in the utility's first-quarter trading update on Thursday. Britain's second-largest energy supplier with around nine million customers, froze prices in March until January 2016, after putting up gas and electric bills by 8.2 per cent in October. This freeze came a day before energy watchdog Ofgem called for an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the UK energy market.

The probe could take two years, and energy firms say this uncertainty will be a bar to investment in modernising the industry

Annual operating profits at SSE dropped in May by 32.2 per cent to £246m though the wider group saw adjusted pre-tax profits rise 9.6 per cent to £1.55 billion.

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