Chris Wooton, the chief financial officer of the Frasers Group, has blamed the new opening date for non-essential retail as a result of the “Dominic Cummings Fiasco” which has made the government “hesitant”.
Speaking to ITV News last night (26 May) Wooton made the claim that the current controversy surrounding the prime minister’s special advisor could have led the government to move back the opening of non essential retail from 1 June to 15 June.
He said: “The government clearly said they were going to start phasing opening from the first of June if the science allowed them to. We actually think that the whole Dominic Cummings fiasco over the weekend has clearly made them hesitant to act decisively and made them more cautious, so they’ve clearly pushed it back to the 15th of June.“
Wooton added that the extra couple of weeks “will put some [businesses] under for sure” as they are “that close to the edge” and that for many “every day is essential”.
He said that the delay itself will cost the group “millions of pounds in lost sales”.
The news comes after Frasers Group owner Mike Ashley was forced to pen an open letter apologising for the Fraser Group’s response to the Covid-19 lockdown. Reports suggested that Ashley lobbied the government to keep Sports Direct open and was still asking employees to still come to work at the high street retailer.
Clarifying its position Wooton revealed that the group wrote to the government for “clarification” on whether it should remain open.
“Instead Michael Gove decided to go on breakfast television the next morning and use us as a political football to divert attention from their own lack of ability in handling this crisis,” Wooton said.