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Frasers makes U-turn and closes Sports Direct stores

Bike shops such as Evans are also allowed to remain open  

Frasers Group PLC -
An essential service argued Frasers

 

Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS) has made an abrupt U-turn on plans to keep its Sports Direct chain open in defiance of government recommendations.

The Mike Ashley-owned business indicated last night that it intended to keep the stores trading as long as possible in spite of the government ordering all non-essential shops to close.

However, this morning, Frasers said Sports Direct would not open until it was given permission to do so by the government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the shutdown to try to halt the spread of coronavirus following scenes at the weekend of people swarming into parks and tourist attractions, packed tube trains and busy shops.

Exemptions to the ban include basic necessity providers such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Frasers argued the Sports Direct stores are also essential as they are ‘uniquely placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible’.

With gyms closed it supplies equipment that can be used to exercise at home wrote CFO Chris Wootton in a letter.

Some other retailers have also said they intend to stay open.

B&Q owner Kingfisher said its UK stores will continue to trade despite closing its outlets in France and Spain, while newsagent WH Smith says it also is performing an essential service.

Most stores, though, have decided to follow the government’s recommendation with another batch of retailers shutting their doors today.

Greggs, Dunelm, Games Workshop and ScS have all closed their outlets temporarily.

JD Sports, which competes head-on with Sports Direct in the sports clothing and trainer business, has also decided to shut its doors.

 

Quick facts: Frasers Group PLC

Price: 310.8 GBX

LSE:FRAS
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.61 billion
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