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Mike Ashley 'deeply sorry' for poor calls on Covid-19 lockdown

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 27 Mar 2020

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley issued a grovelling apology for his behaviour during a spat with the government over his attempt to keep the chain open in defiance of the coronavirus lockdown.
In an open letter, a contrite and penitent Ashley said he was "deeply apologetic about the misunderstandings of the last few days".

"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," he said, admitting that his emails to Downing Street 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."

Ashley now runs his empire under the Frasers Group brand, which includes House of Fraser and Evans Cycles. He planned to keep Sports Direct and Evans open on the basis that the government had allowed people to exercise during the lockdown.

After a very public row, he was ordered by the to shut his stores.

Ashley on Friday said he had offered his fleet of trucks to the NHS to help deliver medical equipment and supplies. "This offer is not limited to the NHS but all key workforces across the government. We will help wherever possible."

"There has been no dress rehearsal for what we as a nation are currently tackling, and I for one am immensely proud of how our government, our NHS & all of our key workers have handled the situation so far."

"I would especially like to thank my Frasers Group employees, who have stood by the business in difficult times before and are doing so again currently. We are working very hard to save our business, so that we can continue to be one of the biggest employers on the UK high street once this pandemic has passed."

"Finally, 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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