Market analysts suspect that the 60% reduction in profits at Sports Direct may be related to them having no employees at all actually dealing with shoppers. Studies have shown that the skeleton staff are instead employed to stand on very tall ladders putting replica Premiership football shirts out of reach, and to fold up piles of t-shirts for the public to unfold again.
Sports Direct’s reputation was badly hit after revelations about poor staff conditions last year. However, Chief Executive Mike Ashley explained that the disdain that Sports Direct management once had for its employees is a thing of the past. ‘That attitude has now been passed directly onto the remaining staff in our shops to exercise on the general public,’ he said.
Retail gurus have especially noticed a drop in profits from footwear sales, despite an increase in the number of people seen standing in stores with one shoe off holding a bright green football boot in the air. Any more assertive attempt to get the attention of someone who might be able to bring them a pair of Nike Supervenom Hyperfly 749s in size 8 is apparently met with either disinterest or an empty offer to try and find a colleague who can help.
‘We did hear about one shop where there was reportedly a member of staff behind a till at one point,’ explained Brian Wilson, senior market analyst at Hill-Brown Capital. ‘But we understand that the employee was just trying to explain the company’s No Refunds Under Any Circumstances Whatsoever policy to a disgruntled customer that had somehow managed to buy something.’