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CMA set to investigate Mike Ashley amidst accusations of profiteering during this crisis

2 years ago

If you are a believer in ‘all publicity is good publicity’ then Mike Ashley is doing a stunning job for himself at the minute.

So many people are coming to the fore due to their positive contribution in trying to help with the crisis the UK and the rest of the world faces.

However, there are a number of exceptionally rich people who are exposing themselves in exactly the opposite way.

The likes Richard Branson and Tim Martin have set a massive challenge but Mike Ashley is proving himself capable of leaving them and any other competition well behind, when it comes to despicable behaviour.

Tuesday of course saw Mike Ashley try to keep the Sports Direct physical stores open, claiming they were ‘essential’ under the new emergency guidelines. Boris Johnson and the Government had to force Ashley to close the SD stores in order to try and help combat the spread of the virus.

Simon Neville is City Editor for the Press Association and with Frasers Group (formerly Sports Direct International Group) staff so disgusted with the actions of the company led by Mike Ashley, Neville says that those staff are willing in unprecedented numbers to leak the way the things the company are doing during this crisis. Simon Neville summing it up: ‘I’ve written about Mike Ashley for close to 10 years now. Have never seen a backlash from staff quite like this.’

Following the disgrace of trying to keep the Sports Direct stores open, Simon Neville says that he has been told by Jack Wills (another Frasers Group/Mike Ashley company/brand) staff that they were still told to go to work on Tuesday despite their shops being closed, totally against the orders from Government.

The Press Association reporting: ‘In one message sent to staff on Tuesday morning, the company wrote “we will not open our Sports Direct or Evans Stores to the public” and it carries on “please continue to head into work as we have been instructed last night”.

Elsewhere, Flannels staff have also claimed that this is the case, still told to go into work despite it being against the Government announcement on Monday night.

To make matters worse, accusations have now been made against Mike Ashley of profiteering (The act of taking advantage of a situation in order to make a profit, usually by charging high prices for things people need) during this national/international emergency.

The Press Association reporting: ‘Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has hiked prices by more than 50% on some sports equipment on Tuesday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to internal documents seen by the PA news agency…on Tuesday, Sports Direct also sent a document to staff, seen by PA, which shows the lines that should have price rises applied.

Pricing documents show that an Everlast 4kg kettle bell has gone up from £9.99 to £14.99 – although the sticker will still say the “original” ticket price was £19.99.

Simon Neville posting these price comparisons via his Twitter account showing the opportunist price rises Mike Ashley and Sports Direct have implemented.

Neville says that the CMA (Competitions and Markets Authority) have been alerted, with their brief to look into cases of potential profiteering by Mike Ashley and others during these tough times, the CMA watchdog responding with ‘We have already warned all traders not to exploit the current situation through unjustifiable prices. Our new Covid-19 taskforce is reviewing evidence of harmful sales or pricing practices, and we will do whatever is required to stop a small minority of businesses that may seek to exploit the present situation.’

Meanwhile, whilst numerous other football clubs have given public assurances to full-time staff on wages and committed to still paying casual staff despite the cancelled matches, Mike Ashley has refused to give any such public assurances to those who work at Newcastle United, so far…


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