25,000 staff at Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda receive windfall from bumper share save scheme

Staff at Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda have received £62m windfall from a bumper share save scheme.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 09:40

Nearly 25,000 Asda staff are pocketing the windfall thanks to a strong return from the company’s Save As You Earn (SAYE) scheme.

In the 2016 plan, Asda colleagues could save between £5 and £300 directly from their salary each month for a three-year period.

At the end of the three years, they then have the opportunity to buy shares in the company’s American owner, Walmart, at a 20 per cent discount on the market value when they started saving.

They are then able to sell their shares, offering the chance to cash in with a profitable return.

This year’s return is boosted by an increase of more than £50 per share in the Walmart share price, which is at its highest level ever.

In 2016, the option price including the 20 per cent discount on the Walmart share price stood at £36.99, while at the maturity date on July 1 2019 stood at £87.12 – meaning that employees have more than doubled their money.

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Asda said: “A colleague putting aside the average saving of £70 per month would save £2,520 over the three years, but with the increase in share price, will receive £5,924.50 into their bank, giving an average return of a cool £3,404.50. Someone saving the maximum of £300 would take home £25,353.42 of which £14,553.42 is profit.”

Hayley Tatum, Asda’s Senior Vice President, People, said: “Giving our colleagues the chance to save each month, risk-free, is just one of our ways of saying thank you and a great way to ensure that they reap the rewards of their exceptional efforts.”

The most popular ways to spend the windfalls are on holidays abroad, weddings and home improvements.

Shiralee Brunson, from Asda’s Long Eaton store, said she would spend the money taking her sons, their partners and her grandchildren away on holiday to celebrate her and her husband’s 40th wedding anniversary.

She said: “Nowhere else would I have been able to get such a great return and it means that we’ll be able to have a really special and memorable holiday. Everyone in the store is so excited about their savings and I think we’ve all spent the money already.”