Sainsbury’s has revealed its boss landed a £3.8 million pay and bonus package as the supermarket already faces anger over big payouts to investors while customers struggle in the cost-of-living crisis.
The chain’s annual report shows that chief executive Simon Roberts picked up £2.8 million in bonuses for the year to March 5, on top of his £875,000 a year salary and other benefits.
His mammoth pay deal includes a £1.7 million annual bonus and £1.1 million in long-term incentive scheme shares.
It marks a hefty rise on the previous year, when he earned £1.3 million, although he started in the role part-way into 2020-21, having taken over from ex-boss Mike Coupe in June 2020.
Last year, Mr Roberts – formerly the group’s retail and operations head – waived his £1 million annual bonus due to the pandemic.
Sainsbury’s said his pay for 2020-21 would have been £2.9 million on a like-for-like basis had he not forgone his bonus.
The pay details come as the group is already in the line of fire after announcing a big rise in dividend payouts to shareholders while customers are struggling to make ends meet due to soaring costs.
Investors – many of which are foreign – are soon to share out £300 million of dividends, up 24% on 2021 and the largest since 2015.
The High Pay Centre has been reported criticising Sainsbury’s for the decision and urged businesses to “do the right thing by shareholders, customers and workers” alike.
There has also been pressure on Sainsbury’s over pay and investors will get to vote next month on a resolution filed by a coalition of shareholders led by ShareAction calling for the chain to pay the “real living wage” to all its workers by July 2023.
Since May, Sainsbury’s has been paying the real living wage rates to all its directly-employed staff – one of the first major retailers to do so – but does not yet for third-party contractors, such as cleaners and security guards.
Sainsbury’s also last week pledged to invest more than £500 million into cutting prices for customers by March 2023 as part of a long-term plan focused on value.
But Mr Roberts’ pay details will likely stoke further criticism as the sector is pressed to do all it can to help cash-strapped households.
Iceland supermarket chain managing director Richard Walker recently said some of its customers are “disappearing into food banks” as they struggle to meet rising costs.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed food inflation grew by 6.8% in April, on the back of sharp increases for meat and dairy products, while wider inflation has already reached an eye-watering 9%.