Mike Ashley and his showpiece store at Lomond Shores.
By Democrat reporter
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has apologised for “ill-judged and poorly timed” emails to the Government and poor communication with employees and the public in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, the majority owner of Frasers Group, which includes Frasers at Lomond Shores at Loch Lomond and Sports Direct in Dumbarton, also said he has offered the company’s “entire fleet of lorries” to the NHS to help deliver medical supplies and equipment.
It comes after the businessman faced fierce criticism from MPs after he tried to claim Sports Direct was an essential operator for keeping the nation fit, before performing a U-turn and closing his stores.
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.
“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.”
The Newcastle United owner said staff at the retail group are “working very hard to save our business” so that the company can continue on the high street once the virus passes.
He thanked the company’s employees and said he was “proud” of how the Government, NHS and other key workers have handled the situation.
Frasers Group continues to trade online in the face of the pandemic, with workers continuing to process orders at the firm’s Shirebrook distribution centre.