Mike Ashley apologises to staff for handling of Frasers Group’s coronavirus response

4026
Mike Ashley apologises to staff for handling of Frasers Group's coronavirus response
Mike Ashley (Image: PA)
// Mike Ashley writes open letter apologising to staff for how Frasers Group has handled coronavirus response
// “Our emails to the government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with,” he wrote
// Follows criticism around Sports Direct staying open during lockdown & reports of safety issues at its warehouse

Mike Ashley has apologised for “ill-judged and poorly timed” emails to the government and poor communication with employees and the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter, the majority owner of Frasers Group also confirmed he has offered the company’s “entire fleet of lorries” to the NHS to help deliver medical supplies and equipment.

It comes after the retail tycoon faced criticism from MPs after he tried to claim Sports Direct was an essential operator for keeping the nation fit and would therefore stay open during the lockdown, before performing a u-turn and closing the stores.


READ MORE:


Frasers Group was also criticised for potentially risking workers’ health by reportedly disobeying Covid-19 safety standards inside its warehouses, and lashed out at temporary recruitment agencies that provide thousands of staff to its Derbyshire depot.

The retail company – which rebranded from Sports Direct International last year and also owns Jack Wills, House of Fraser and Evans Cycle – faced further scorn after its finance chief wrote a letter to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove on Wednesday in an attempt to defend its position.

In the new open letter to Frasers Group staff, Ashley said: “Our intentions were only to seek clarity from the government as to whether we should keep some of our stores open; we would never have acted against their advice.

“In hindsight, our emails to the government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with.

“On top of this, our communications to our employees and the public on this was poor.

“To reiterate, I am deeply apologetic about the misunderstandings of the last few days. We will learn from this and will try not to make the same mistakes in the future.”

Mike Ashley’s open letter, in full:

“Given what has taken place over the last few days, I thought it was necessary to address and apologise for much of what has been reported across various media outlets regarding my personal actions and those of the Frasers Group business.

“Our intentions were only to seek clarity from the government as to whether we should keep some of our stores open; we would never have acted against their advice. In hindsight, our emails to the government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with. On top of this, our communications to our employees and the public on this was poor.

“There has been no dress rehearsal for what we as a nation are currently tackling, and I for one am immensely proud of how our government, our NHS and all of our key workers have handled the situation so far. I would especially like to thank my Frasers Group employees, who have stood by the business in difficult times before and are doing so again currently. We are working very hard to save our business, so that we can continue to be one of the biggest employers on the UK high street once this pandemic has passed.

“Outside of Frasers Group, I have offered our support to the NHS and we are poised and ready for when that offer is accepted, with our entire fleet of lorries at their disposal – to help deliver medical equipment and supplies. This offer is not limited to the NHS but all key workforces across the government. We will help wherever possible.

“Finally, to reiterate, I am deeply apologetic about the misunderstandings of the last few days. We will learn from this and will try not to make the same mistakes in the future.
I strongly encourage everyone to follow the government’s advice, stay safe and healthy through these challenging times, not least my employees.”

with PA Wires

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette‘s free daily email newsletter

4 COMMENTS

  1. He is one ignorant greedy twat, who knew exactly what he was doing, look how long it’s taken him to issue a statement , probably Been investigating if he could sue the Government for closing him .

  2. I am hoping when all this is over, Mike Ashley will remembered by all as the greedy bully
    who doesn’t really care about his workforce or his customers.We kind of new this already but his recent actions have now confirmed all that we suspected. His statement today can only be
    seen as what it is – a public relations exercise desperate to offset the damage to him and his
    ‘brand’. We can add him to the list of names who show there true colours when the going gets tough, Philip Green, Branson…….

  3. I would like to defend Mike Ashley.

    Having no investment or association with the company being objective, consider this.

    The aim to continue trading was wrong. Mr. Ashley has been humble, has apologized and corrected the prior version.

    As we rebuild the economy we will look to this man and others like him to revive the post coronavirus economy. Given that the government gave unclear and misguided advice in the early stages and “imagined” it possible to use an immunity approach, business have had to make hard choices.

    Mr. Ashley through his enterprises creates jobs for thousands of people. He has NOT done a Weatherspoon and abandoned his staff. He is trying to run a business.

    Let all fair people accept his apology, move on an look to men like Mike Ashley to rebuild the economy.

  4. Completely agree…
    This spivvy loud-mouthed uncouth is merely taking advice from his PR dept. to mitigate any damage done to the company…
    Too bloody late Ashley!! Alongside, Tim Martin of Witherspoons, if I survive C-19, I, and my whole family will never purchase goods and services from your companies ever again!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here