Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley has taken it upon himself to save the high street from the difficult trading conditions.
In a formal statement entitled “Mike Ashley vows to save the high street after demanding to see select committee”, the business tycoon has demanded a meeting with MPs in Westminster.
“Since we acquired HoF, we’ve been working around the clock to save as many stores and jobs as possible,” said Ashley.
“I believe politicians and landlords should be doing more to save our struggling high streets, so I intend to make the most of this opportunity to make a real difference,” he added.
The Sports Direct owner bought House of Fraser and Evans Cycles from administration earlier this year as both retailers collapsed.
A spokesperson from the group said: “The MPs originally wanted somebody from House of Fraser to speak for about 15 minutes as part of a panel of four, and said they didn’t mind who it was. Mike thought that wouldn’t achieve anything, so instead, he demanded to go along in person for a full hour.”
Sports Direct has agreed on deals for 20 House of Fraser stores. This is including the £95 million acquisition of Frasers in Glasgow. Since his purchase of the department store, a number of key suppliers have pulled out after disputes over terms.
For Evans, Ashley has said that half of the 62 stores may close.
The difficult trading environments come in the form of weaker trade for independent retailers, which has coincided with higher rent, wages and business rates.