Sports Direct hikes online prices after coronavirus store shutdown

Tanya Simon
March 25, 2020

Chris Wootton, finance chief of the brand's parent company Frasers Group, said in an email to clarify the Sports Direct position that he had asked the government for permission to open the shops, arguing that sports equipment is essential.

Frasers argued the Sports Direct stores are also essential as they are "uniquely placed to help keep the United Kingdom as fit and healthy as possible".

However, there are still reports of workers being told to arrive at stores, against government advice.

But customers and politcians hit out at the business for its plan to keep stores open, with Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery telling company majority owner Mr Ashley to "take some responsibility" and "shut up shop".

The sportswear chain, founded by billionaire Mike Ashley, emailed its employees within half an hour of prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement that he was forcing the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electrical stores, plus other premises including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.

Sports Direct and Evans Cycles will not open their stores on Tuesday, embarking on a rapid U-turn after a backlash against plans to keep trading despite a United Kingdom government lockdown.

Strong quake of magnitude-5.3 hits Croatia
People dashed onto the streets of Zagreb , the capital, at 6.23am (5.23am GMT) as their homes were shaken violently by the tremor. Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said the situation was complicated by the restrictive virus-related measures in place.

He also said people could leave home for exercise, but only while maintaining social distancing.

He said in a "clarification" that they will remain shut, despite stating that government policy "excludes bicycle shops from closure".

The PM said restrictions would be tightened up so only essential journeys should be made by key workers.

Labour MP Jess Phillips agreed that the firm was "not essential", tweeting: "Massive mugs notwistanding there is nothing people can not live without in Sports Direct".

'Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the United Kingdom as fit and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the government's current social distancing guidance)'.

Rangers and Sports Direct have had a pretty 'difficult' relationship since Mike Ashley got his claws into the club and hamstrung them for his own benefit - and Gers fans on Twitter have blasted the retailer over his stance that selling sports socks and tennis balls was "essential" as the country went into lockdown.

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