British role-playing game retailer hands staff a £5,000 bonus following bumper lockdown sales

A customer plays a game of Warhammer in a Games Workshop store in London.
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U.K. retailer Games Workshop has given employees a £5,000 ($6,942) bonus, following record sales and profits amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Games Workshop, which sells role-playing miniatures and games such as Warhammer, said in its annual results on Tuesday that it was splitting a £10.6 million discretionary bonus among its 2,600 employees, equal to a £4,000 payment each. 

The gaming retailer also said it had upped its profit share payment to a total of £2.6 million in 2021, or £1,000 per employee, from £2.4 million in 2020. 

Meanwhile, the company's senior management team received £1.1 million in bonuses, up from £300,000 in 2020. 

Games Workshop isn't the first company to reward employees with bumper bonuses for their work amid the pandemic. Microsoft said earlier in July that it would be giving out $1,500 bonuses to many of its employees, as a gesture to show appreciation for their efforts over the past year. 

Meanwhile, some companies are shelling out for signing-on bonuses to incentivize workers to join their business amid labor shortages in various sectors. For instance, U.K. grocery store chain Tesco is offering truck drivers a bonus of £1,000 if they join the business before the end of September. 

Games Workshop CEO Kevin Rountree said the business had seen "exceptional financial performance; record constant currency sales, profit and cash generation" during the past year. 

Games Workshop's revenue jumped to £353.2 million in the year to the end of May 2021, up from £269.7 million in 2020. The retailer's operating profits surged to £151.7 million in 2021, from £90 million last year. 

Rountree said that in response to a spike in demand for its products, permanent night shifts and additional weekend shifts had been implemented in its two factories. 

Like video games, table-top board games and role-playing games have seen increased demand due to stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. The jump in demand was despite the temporary closure of the majority of Games Workshop's 523 stores around the world. 

To make up for the lack of physical events and "Warhammer gatherings," Games Workshop hosted online events and streamed live seminars, each of which received over a million interactions. 

"The result — the best year for engagement and online sales we've ever had," Rountree said.

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