// Frasers Group says govt has been too distracted by the Dominic Cummings scandal which is why reopening date for non-essential retailers was delayed
// The delay is expected to “finish off” some retailers
// Frasers Group finance boss Chris Wootton is “extremely irritated” by the delay
Frasers Group chief financial officer Chris Wootton has reportedly blamed the controversy surrounding Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings for later-than-expected store reopenings which will “finish off” some retailers.
Wootton said he was “extremely irritated” that non-essential retailers now have to wait until June 15 before reopening rather than June 1 as previously expected, according to ITV News.
Frasers Group – which owns Sports Direct, Jack Wills, Game, Evans Cycles and House of Fraser – had been preparing to reopen more than 800 UK stores on June 1, in line with the government guidance that was published in the Covid-19 Recovery Strategy earlier this month.
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On Monday, the government announced that although car showrooms and outdoor markets can reopen from the June 1, all other non-essential shops in England can reopen on June 15, provided they comply with social distancing and hygiene standards.
Wootton said “the whole Dominic Cummings fiasco” over the weekend made the government hesitant to act decisively, which is why the reopening date has been delayed.
Frasers Group has installed screens on the tills, stickers on the floors, and posters on the walls.
It has also drawn-up risk assessments, organised outside queuing, sanitised stations and sourced gloves and masks for staff.”
Wootton said the reopening on June 15 instead of June 1 will come at a price for Frasers Group and will “definitely put some businesses out of business”.
He added that some retailers that are on the edge will be “going out of existence”.
Wootton said he is expressing views that are shared by Mike Ashley, who owns a majority stake in Frasers Group.
In March, Ashley issued a public apology after trying to keep Sports Direct open when the government had initially ordered non-essential retailers to close.