Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct and House of Frasers, has confirmed that it will close all stores – even if they are essential stores – during the second lockdown that began in England last week.
This was announced after the UK Government issued more guidance on which retailers are essential retailers and what they will be allowed to sell during the lockdown.
While condemning the Government, the Group said that the ‘mixed retail’ rules updated by the Government are full of inconsistencies.
Therefore, Frasers Group has made it distinct that it will not be opening any of its stores in England, which will include those with mixed retail use (consisting essential retail).
When Frasers Group, which generates revenue of £3,701.9 million, had opened Sports Direct stores during the first lockdown citing them as essential retailers, it had received lot of flak from politicians and media.
Meanwhile, fashion retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S), which had only last week said that it will keep all its stores open during new lockdown, has said it will close its apparel and home section within its stores that also sell food.
As per the new rules, grocery retailers can sell ‘non-essential’ homeware if stocked on aisles, but will have to shut down if goods are on a separate floor.
Consequently, M&S is closing 238 floors.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) also said that updated rules have created arbitrary lines over what was considered essential.