Mike Ashley’s Frasers braces for £200m hit from ‘third wave’

Sports Direct owner Frasers Group has warned it could take a hit in excess of £200m due to Covid-19 restrictions – double its previous estimate in February.

The retailer said it believed further restrictions were “almost certain”, and said that a writedown against freehold values and other non-cash impairments was required.

The company added: “Frasers Group is continuing to assess the Covid-19 potential impact on asset values.

“In our ongoing assessment we note the continuing Government and Government adviser pronouncements regarding ‘third waves’ and normality being ‘some way off’, meaning further restrictions are in our view almost certain.

“We also note the Covid-19-affected experiences, estimates and judgments from other leading retailers.”

Frasers is planning to reopen vast swathes of its estate from Monday, as non-essential retailers are allowed to welcome back customers.

The group, controlled by Mike Ashley, includes House of Fraser, Game Digital, Jack Wills, Evans Cycles (which remained open as an essential retailer) and Sports Direct.

Bosses have been critical of the extension by the Chancellor to the business rates holiday and the restrictions it places on how much can be saved for big chains like Frasers.

Mr Ashley’s firm has also been eyeing up potential takeover opportunities throughout the Covid-19 crisis, showing interest in the collapsed Debenhams and Peacocks brands, although administrators have found that Frasers’ offers have tended to be far too low to accept.

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