More than 1,700 staff at high street retailer The Entertainer are to share a record £3 million in bonuses after the group notched up a 31 per cent surge in annual profits.

The toy company, which has stores across Cumbria, announced the bonus after profits jumped to £15.1 million thanks to a 12.3 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the year to January 28.

The group's bonus compares with £1.9m paid out the previous year.

It was announced earlier this month that The Entertainer was buying the Early Learning Centre from Mothercare for up to £13.5m.

As well as its staff bonus, The Entertainer also said it was making charitable donations of £1.6 m after the rise in annual profits, with total donations at £2.7m thanks also to payroll giving, "pennies" and carrier bag donations.

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: "2019 will see us continue to keep a tight control on costs, further strengthen our own-label product offering through our Addo brand, ensure we are first to market on key trends and of course offer excellent value for money to our customers.

"Our ambitious growth agenda will continue after our exciting start to the year with the acquisition of ELC, and we will continue to look at every opportunity to expand our presence both nationally and internationally."

Mr Grant and his wife Catherine founded The Entertainer in 1981 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

It employs 1,530 staff across its 163 stores and 211 at its Amersham head office.