Marks & Spencer staff are being offered a £5m festive incentive to make the tills ring louder this year, in a bid to boost sales in the run-up to Christmas. The store today announced it is introducing performance-related pay for its 50,000 employees for the first time in the company's history.The bonuses will be worked out on a store basis. Employees of stores reaching sales targets set for November will a £75 bonus and the same for December if they meet targets set for that month. The announcement comes just hours after the store reported a drop in half-year profits and plans to axe six stores. M&S is to close stores in Bristol, Bromley, Edinburgh, Leeds, Norwich and Watford and reduce space in a further two, Bath and Derby. The store is aiming for Christmas trading this year, a crucial retail period for any store, to be better than last year year. Traditionally, the two months before Christmas generate 25 per cent of M&S profits. A spokesman for the company said the Christmas performance-related pay scheme had been well received by staff. The spokesman added: "In total, that amounts to a potential £5m up for grabs."