Sports Direct described as “A scar on British business” by Institute of Directors’ director general

Simon Walker’s damning description made front page headlines in The Guardian this morning, following the newspaper’s revelations about pay and working conditions at the under fire retailer.

Walker said: “Unfortunately, the actions of Sports Direct will leave a scar on British business.

“IoD members share the public’s outrage.

“At a time when the reputation of corporate Britain is on shaky foundations, another scandal is hard to stomach for the overwhelming majority of businesses that have integrity at their core.

“I urge people to remember that Sports Direct is categorically not a representative of British business.”

Around £400 million was wiped off the value of the Mike Ashley-owned retailer yesterday (December 10).

Referring to concerns raised about compulsory searches of warehouse workers at the end of their shifts – essentially unpaid time – Keith Hellawell, Sports Direct’s non-executive chairman, said: “A number of issues were raised by shareholders, which we have addressed, for example, the inconvenience experienced by some warehouse workers from the logistics of the security process when exiting the warehouse.

“Following a review, the process has been streamlined, which has led to a reduction in waiting time.”

Sports Direct reported revenues of £1.43 billion and underlying earnings of £218.5 million for the six months to October 25.

Chief executive Dave Forsey described the figures as an: “excellent set of results, particularly given the strong comparable sales generated in the build up to the FIFA 2014 World Cup and after a generally mixed summer for the retail sector.”

He added: “Trading since the period end has been in line with management’s expectations.

“We look forward to 2016 with confidence ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 European Football Championships in which England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be competing.”

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