Frasers Group calls for Leicester stores to stay open in local lockdown

Sports Direct
Sports Direct store, Oxford Street 2020. © TheIndustry.fashion

Frasers Group, the owners of Sports Direct, has criticised the government’s lockdown in Leicester as a “half-cocked plan” while arguing that its stores should be allowed to stay open.

Chris Wootton, Chief Financial Officer of Frasers Group, has reportedly written to Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, to ask for clarity over the classification of “essential retail”, reports The Times.

Wootton argues that Sports Direct should be allowed to remain open as it sells essential items such as bicycles and sports equipment, comparing the company with Decathlon and Go Outdoors, which have been allowed to remain open.

The letter, addressed to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, also accuses the government of a lack of clarity over whether furlough payments to new staff are possible in Leicester and if click-and collect-services can continue to operate.

Last month, Sports Direct said that further support is needed to save high street retailers, as ” the UK high street was already in turmoil before lockdown”.

When the UK lockdown began in March, Sports Direct was forced to do a U-turn after criticism of attempts to keep its stores open.