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Slimmed down Mike Ashley releases video message as part of PR charm offensive trying to avoid disaster

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Mike Ashley and his retail empire were already seen as one of the least respected in the UK.

Then when the virus crisis took hold, Mike Ashley took them to an all-time low.

Government intervention needed after Ashley tried to keep the Sports Direct stores open, claiming they were an ‘essential’ service.

Then the billionaire furloughed countless staff across the retail empire, as well as facing accusations of then trying to get staff to work despite being furloughed, then claims of profiteering – reports of sudden significant price rises on popular products.

With the government now gradually relaxing virus measures, more shops are set to be allowed to reopen.

Mike Ashley in a new statement (see below) saying this could happen as early as 1 June for Sports Direct and the other brands under the Frasers Group (formerly Sports Direct International Group) umbrella.

In a PR charm offensive, Mike Ashley releasing this statement to staff, but clearly it is also intended to get out via the media to the general population as well. Ashley trying desperately to win back customers for who his behaviour in this virus crisis was the final straw.

Mike Ashley has also released a video (watch below) as part of the PR offensive, nice to see the Newcastle United owner (not for long hopefully…) looking so slimmed down and fit and healthy. Clearly doing a runner to a second home in Miami during this virus crisis didn’t do him any harm, leaving his staff to deal with it.

I suppose at least Mike Ashley has bothered communicating regarding his retail empire, a shame it isn’t the case with Newcastle United. The club’s owner refusing to communicate and refusing so far to allow any refund of tickets that can’t now be used this season, taking money off fans for the 2020/21 season by direct debit when nobody knows when it will kick off and then when fans will be allowed in, no explanation / justification either on furloughing so many NUFC staff and not continuing to pay casual matchday staff as many responsible clubs have continued to do.

Mike Ashley speaking on Frasers Group video:

“Morning everyone.

“Hope everyone is well and family are well.

“Just to say thanks for all your efforts during this unpleasant crisis.

“A special shout out to Shirebrook.

“I’m telling you, they have done an absolutely amazing job.

“So thanks everyone and I hope to see you soon.”

That Frasers Group video below, Mike Ashley speaking from 2.52:

Mike Ashley releases statement:

‘The Frasers Group is nothing without its people, and I thank you all for your continued support and hard work.

I want to thank all of those who committed to the revised salary. We find ourselves in exceptionally difficult times, and we know that this sacrifice was not an easy choice to make.

Although the retail landscape remains uncertain, we now find ourselves with a little more clarity. The Sunday before last, the Government announced their plans to restart the economy, including their proposal for the phased re-opening of retail stores.

Although not guaranteed, it appears we may be able to begin opening our stores from 1 June 2020.

If this is the case, we will be prepared for all social distancing and safety guidelines laid out by the Government.

It is, therefore, with much pleasure and relief that I write to you today, to inform all direct Frasers Groups employees that we will not implement any salary reductions for May.

Our people will receive their full expected salaries, as they did in April. This applies to both furloughed and non-furloughed employees.

We’re very proud to be one of the only retailers to pay everyone 100 per cent of their salaries during this period.’




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