Published: 12:57, 22 May 2020
| Updated: 14:00, 22 May 2020
Employees of Mike Ashley’s retail group have been told they will receive full pay in May, as it eyes reopening stores next month under Government proposals for a phased easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
Frasers Group, which includes Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, had written to staff last month asking them to make “personal sacrifices” with regards to their pay.
But in an update to employees on Thursday, group chief executive Mr Ashley said that all staff, including those on furlough, would receive their full expected salaries.
Senior management, including chief financial officer Chris Wootton and head of commercial Sean Nevitt, and the non-executive directors, continue to have an annual salary capped at £40,000.
Mr Ashley thanked staff for keeping online operation running during the crisis, while noting that stores may be able to open from June 1.
“Although the retail landscape remains uncertain, we now find ourselves with a little more clarity,” he said.
The start of next month has been earmarked as the earliest possible date for the gradual reopening of schools and non-essential retail shops in England.
Mr Ashley told employees: “Although not guaranteed, it appears we may be able to begin opening our stores from June 1 2020.
“If this is the case, we will be prepared for all social distancing and safety guidelines laid out by the Government.”
He added: “The Frasers Group is nothing without its people, and I thank you all for your continued support and hard work.”
Frasers Group, which rebranded from Sports Direct International last year, has closed its stores following the Government-mandated lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March, Mr Ashley faced fierce criticism from MPs after he tried to claim Sports Direct was an essential operator for keeping the nation fit in a bid to keep stores open.
The businessman performed a U-turn and closed his stores, later apologising for “ill-judged and poorly timed” emails to the Government and poor communication with employees.