Sports Direct faces heavy backlash for keeping stores open after bosses claimed its good were “essential” during the coronavirus lockdown.
Sports Direct management justified keeping stores open on the basis that selling sporting and fitness equipment makes it a vital asset during a national shutdown, according to an email sent to staff.
is among the high-profile figures calling on the Sports Direct, retail chain’s owner Mike Ashley to “take some responsibility” and shut up shop.
Meanwhile, hundreds have been tweeting #BoycottSportsDirect as they slam the company for staying open while Covid-19 continues to spread in the United Kingdom.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all non-essential shops to close and told public to “stay at home” in an history address to the nation on Sunday.
Sports Direct management justified keeping stores open on the basis that selling sporting and fitness equipment makes it a vital asset during a national shutdown.
Mike Ashley has been told to take some responsibility and shut up shop.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group wrote to all workers within 30 minutes of Mr Johnson’s announcement.
Speaking about the decision on Good Morning Britain, Mr Gove said that Mr Ashley should rescind the order.
He said: “I can’t see any justification for Sports Direct to stay open.”
Mr Lavery also questioned the decision, tweeting: “Who on earth does Mike Ashley think he is?
“He’s prepared to endanger the life of his employees and the public at large.”
Who on earth does Mike Ashley think he is ????
He’s now prepared to endanger the life of his employees and the public at large.
Selling sports wear is not a essential service
Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP 😷https://t.co/3oBSA5dEpV
— Ian Lavery MP (@IanLaveryMP) March 23, 2020
The Wansbeck MP added that selling sports equipment “is not an essential service”.
“Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP” Mr Lavery concluded.
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami said Sports Direct staying open could potentially be “putting vulnerable people at risk”.
Labour MP Jess Phillips agreed that the firm was “not essential.”
He tweeted: “Massive mugs withstanding there is nothing people cannot live without in Sports Direct.”
Everyone should boycott sportsdirect for good. #sportsdirect Disgraceful! If they really care about people’s health give the stuff away.
— Kevin Johnston (@kevj121) March 24, 2020
People also criticized the move on Twitter.
One said: “This company and it’s awful owner are prepared to risk the health and welfare of its staff in the name of profit and that is truly lower than a snakes belly.”
Another wrote: “Can we make sure that we boycott sports direct?”
Sports direct is not essential! Massive Mugs notwistanding there is nothing people cannot live without in Sports Direct. https://t.co/2aeBvNl2o9
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) March 23, 2020
A third user wrote: “Boycott Sports Direct … close yourselves down .. people already have running shoes and stuff .. you are not an essential service.”
PM Boris Johnson, amidst country-wide lockdown, also made it clear that only key workers should travel to work.
People should only go to shops in order to buy food or collect medicines and prescriptions, PM ordered.