// Frasers Group finance boss requests Sports Direct stores to remain open in Leicester
// Leicester went into a local lockdown after Covid-19 cases spiked
Frasers Group chief financial officer Chris Wootton has reportedly written a letter to the government criticising the local lockdown in Leicester and asked for Sports Direct stores in the city to remain open.
Sports Direct operates three stores in the city, which is the first local area in the UK to be dragged back into lockdown due to an increased number of new local Covid-19 cases.
Wootton criticised the move in a letter to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, and stated that Sports Direct should be allowed to remain open as it sells essential items such as bicycles and sports equipment, The Times reported.
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Wootton further argued that because Sports Direct stores sold bicycles they were comparable with Decathlon and Go Outdoors, which have been allowed to remain open.
He asked why off-licences were allowed to open but sporting goods shops must shut, given the government’s focus on health.
When the national lockdown was implemented in late March, Sports Direct was forced to do a u-turn after initially asking to keep stores open.
Frasers Group wrote to the government to ask whether Sports Direct stores could remain open at the time.
Gove brought up the appeal during a TV appearance, prompting Frasers Group owner Mike Ashley to apologise for the mistiming of the request.
The latest letter to 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 are permitted.