Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley is facing questions from the MPs today about his takeover of House of Fraser (HoF) and zero-hours contracts.
Media reports suggest that the retail tycoon is in a combative mood and things are getting heated already.
Ashley: “The high street has to change what it offers the consumer. …. don’t make me the pantomime villain, the poster boy for everything that’s bad.”
— Emma Simpson (@BBCEmmaSimpson) December 3, 2018
When Ashley is asked on zero hours contracts, keeping terms and conditions for existing HOF staff, Ashley responds – “stop trying to showboat and pin me down.. I thought this was about saving the high street.”
Mike Ashley already seems quite angry in meeting with MPs. He defends use of zero hours contracts an says vast majority of sports direct staff want to be on them
— Sarah Butler (@whatbutlersaw) December 3, 2018
"I never said I would keep 59 [House of Fraser] stores open," says Ashley. "Everybody knows I set a target of 80%. What person could keep 59 stores open? It can't be done." #mikeashley #sportsdirect #houseoffraser
— Drapers (@Drapers) December 3, 2018
“I came here to talk about the high street,” said Ashley, as he refuses to be dragged into making commitments regarding HoF customers who made purchases before administration
“We are not obliged in anyway to honour anything and anything we do do is a good will gesture. The new company does not owe one penny of the old one’s debts,” he added.
When committee chairman Clive Betts presses Ashley on whether he should have honoured responsibilities to customers who had made online purchases in good faith online, he hits back saying he has already faced a “media storm” over this.