Directors of Marks & Spencer have been awarded a package of share options which could be worth nearly £4m.

But the directors face an uphill battle if they are ever likely to exercise these share options.

An M&S spokesman said the company would have to nearly double its profits for them to exercise the options after three years.

"The whole purpose of the share options is to improve the performance of the company. There are very stringent targets that have to be reached and these share options can't be exercised for at least three years."

On June 29, four directors were granted options under the company's executive share option scheme.

Chairman and chief executive, Luc Vandevelde was granted 380,858, raising the total awarded to him to 4.4 million.

UK retail boss, Roger Holmes was awarded 249,022 and now has options over 1.1 million shares. Marketing director, Alan McWalter was granted 175,780 and David Norgrove 161,132.

The options are exercisable between three and 10 years from the date they were granted, subject to performance criteria being met.

Share options is one item on the agenda at next week's annual general meeting of M&S which takes place on July 11.