Sports Direct promises shareholders to deal with concerns - but doesn't say how

Sports Direct
Sports Direct

Shirebrook's main employer, Sports Direct, has released its annual financial statement promising shareholders it is taking concerns seriously.

But after a punishing interview with the Business Innovations and Skills Committee in Whitehall, Mike Ashley's company hasn't actually told its public shareholders how it will be dealing with the numerous concerns raised around the use of agency workers.

In the Chairman's statement the company said: "During the year the Group received serious criticism regarding some of its workplace practices, particularly in relation to its agency workers in the warehouse of the Group's Shirebrook campus, which we have taken very seriously.

"The Board made it a priority to undertake a review of what was raised and from the preliminary findings, a number of measures were put in place to address the concerns. These included an increase in pay for the Group's directly employed UK employees and directly engaged casual workers from being on the National Minimum Wage to being above the National Minimum Wage from 1 January 2016. This was implemented without any reduction in existing benefits.

"Since the end of FY16, the Group's Executive Deputy Chairman, Mike Ashley, has given evidence to the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee regarding the assertions made in relation to the Company's workplace practices. The business has set in motion a review of the specific concerns."

The statement also coincides with news that Sports Direct is considering a buyback of shares to reduce its share capital. It has also chosen not to release dividends to shareholders this year and has attempted to dispel speculation that Mike Ashley intends to take the firm off the stock market altogether.

Despite turning a higher profit than the previous year with £361.8m before tax, the company said its performance was 'disappointing'.