By George Day • 27 March 2020 • 11:08
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has apologised for the way he reacted with his business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ashley has apologised for his ‘ill-judged and poorly timed’ emails to the government and poor communication with employees and members of the public, following the nationwide crisis.
In an open letter, the Newcastle United and Frasers Group owner also said he has offered the company’s ‘entire fleet of lorries’ to the NHS to help deliver medical supplies and equipment.
The apology comes after Ashley was criticised by MPs and the public for trying to claim that Sports Direct was an essential store and should remain open during the lockdown. He claimed that it was key to keeping the nation fit, but quickly retracted his decision and closed his stores.
Frasers Group – which rebranded from Sports Direct International last year – 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 letter, Mr 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.”
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