Sportswear giant JD Sports has been fined £67,500 for breaching fire safety laws at two separate stores in Dudley.
The retailer admitted to a total of six offenses in a court in Wolverhampton, and was ordered to pay £10,000 for each, as well as £7500 in costs.
Following an inspection by the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service (WMFRS) at the end of 2015, major breaches including reducing an escape route to just 30cm with crates were discovered.
“It beggars belief the company compromised the safety of their staff and Christmas shoppers in this way,” WMFRS fire inspection officer Mick Horton said.
“In spite of our warning that we would be revisiting, breaches were again identified when we returned two weeks later. We do everything we can to advise businesses on fire safety but will not hesitate to prosecute if our advice is ignored.
“Retailers must realise they can’t put profit before people’s safety by over-stocking, reducing the width of escape routes and blocking fire exit routes.”