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Sports Direct makes u-turn over decision to open stores

Sports Direct makes u-turn over decision to open stores

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 1:42pm 24th March 2020.

Shortly after Boris Johnson's announcement that all UK shops selling non-essential goods should close immediately the sports retailer said it had no plans to shut.

It argued it sells equipment designed for exercising at home.

In a letter sent to staff the Chief Finance Officer of Fraser Group, which owns Sports Direct, claimed the outlets were essential in the fight against COVID-19 and that staff were therefore key workers.

Here's what Chris Wootton originally sent to staff.

"We stock a huge range of sports equipment designed for exercising at home from yoga mats, gym balls, skipping ropes, weights, indoor and outdoor trampolines, resistance bands through to bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, static exercise bikes, multigyms, fitness clothing and footwear in order for people to remain fit and healthy during this period of isolation, indeed home fitness is the number one trending topic on social media after coronavirus itself. Against the backdrop of the closure of gyms the demand for these types of products has increased exponentially as the population looks to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the UK 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). 

There is no one else that has the range of product and range of stores to make this reasonably accessible for the whole population."

The company tweeted the Prime Minister prompting some strong responses.

Following a backlash on social media Sports Direct announced shortly after 8am that it now won't open any stores.