Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley sent a letter to his employees to apologise for the “shortcomings” in working practices, which were highlighted in a report published yesterday.
“The best way that I can now make amends is by turning this company into one of the best employers in Britain,” he said in a letter first reported by BuzzFeed News. ”This will not happen overnight, but I am confident that together we can continue to achieve many great things.
“You are – and remain – my friends and colleagues.”
It comes as the spotlight today will be firmly on Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse facility, as the site of the company’s AGM.
It has also been confirmed this morning that the board has asked Dr Keith Hellawell to continue in his role as chairman, after he offered to step down over the weekend in light of the shortcomings highlighted in the role. He will stay on to “assist with making further improvements”.
Sports Direct said it expects underlying EBITDA in the 2017 financial year to be in the region of £300m, subject to group sales growth of at least 9%, down from £381.4m for the year ended 24 April 2016.
Since the year end, the sportswear retailer has spent approximately £250m on property acquisitions. These include a flagship Oxford Street store for its premium multibrand fascia Flannels, which was announced that month.
The firm said it plans to spend around £300m per year on property acquisitions should suitable opportunities arise.
Ashley also confirmed he has “no current intention to take the company private” and that he plans to install an employee representative on the board.