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Sports Direct does u-turn on keeping stores open

Sports Direct does u-turn on keeping stores open

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:11am 24th March 2020. (Updated at 8:16am 24th March 2020)

Sports Direct has done a u-turn after saying it planned to keep all its stores open, including in Cornwall.

The retailer has stores in Truro, St Austell and Penzance.

Tough new measures were announced by Boris Johnson last night that all UK shops selling non-essential goods should close immediately.

He also made it clear that only key workers should be travelling to work and people should only be going to shops in order to buy food or collect medicines and prescriptions.

The prime minister also said people could leave home for exercise, but only with people they are living with.

Sports Direct told staff it planned to keep all its stores open because it sells equipment designed for exercising at home. 

Shortly after the PM's announcement the finance chief of Frasers Group, which includes Sports Direct and Evan's Cycles, wrote to all staff.

Chris Wootton suggested that the company's outlets are essential in the fight against COVID-19 and that staff were therefore key workers.

But on Tuesday morning it was decided that all Sports Direct stores would close after all.

Chris Wootton originally said: "We stock a huge range of sports equipment designed for exercising at home from yoga mats, gym balls, skipping ropes, weights, indoor and outdoor trampolines, resistance bands through to bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, static exercise bikes, multigyms, fitness clothing and footwear in order for people to remain fit and healthy during this period of isolation, indeed home fitness is the number one trending topic on social media after coronavirus itself. Against the backdrop of the closure of gyms the demand for these types of products  has increased exponentially as the population looks to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the Government's current social distancing guidance). 

There is no one else that has the range of product and range of stores to make this reasonably accessible for the whole population."

Chris Wootton, finance chief of Frasers Group

Meanwhile the company tweeted the Prime Minister prompting some strong responses.


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