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Sports Direct owner performs U-turn on plan to stay open


By Gregor White


Sports Direct in Inverness will close despite bosses earlier insisting it and other branches would remain open.
Sports Direct in Inverness will close despite bosses earlier insisting it and other branches would remain open.

Sports Direct, which has an outlet in Inverness, had previously said stores would remain open despite a government-announced lockdown.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove said that Sports Direct is not an essential retailer and should close after owner Mike Ashley said his stores would remain open.

Last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tightening of the rules on social isolation, calling on people not to go out except for essential shopping; for ant medical need or to care for a vulnerable person; for one period of walking, cycling or running per day; and for travelling to and from work if this is absolutely necessary.

He announced that all "non-essential" shops should close.

Shops that can stay open include: Supermarkets and other food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, newsagents, bicycle shops, home and hardware stores, laundrettes and dry cleaners, garages, pet shops, post offices, banks.

Mail order services will continue.

Sports Direct had argued it was "uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible".

The firm has now reversed that position.

It said it will not now open "until we are given the go-ahead by the government".

Full details of the rules in place following last night's announcement of a nationwide lockdown can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Related article: Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlines lockdown plan to fight coronavirus



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