Company says it complies with rules

Sports Direct chairman says zero hours attacks ‘unfounded’

Mike AshleySports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell has hit back at criticism of the company’s use of zero hours contracts in its stores.

The retailer was accused earlier this year of employing nearly one in every five workers in the retail and wholesale sector on the controversial working arrangement.

It followed criticism that the company, owned by the billionaire Mike Ashley (pictured), had given staff at its USC fashion house only 15 minutes’ notice before they lost their jobs on 13 January.

In its annual results statement today, Mr Hellawell said: “Much of the comment regarding the group’s use of zero hour contracts has been unfounded and inaccurate.

“We comply fully with all legal requirements which relate to casual workers, including sick pay, holiday pay, and freedom to gain other employment. Casual workers also participate in general incentive schemes.”

On trading, he said: “The group has delivered another solid set of results in spite of challenging trading conditions including the adverse impact on performance during the period of England’s early departure from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and unseasonably mild weather during Autumn, reducing footfall.”

Group underlying EBITDA increased by 15.7% to £383.2 million and underlying profit before tax rose 20.5% to £300.3m.


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