Mike Ashley's Frasers Group prepares to a take a '£200m hit' caused by coronavirus restrictions
Sports Direct owner Frasers Group has warned it could take a hit in excess of £200 million due to the Covid-19 restrictions – double its previous estimate in February.
The retailer said it believes further restrictions are “almost certain”, believing a writedown against freehold values and other non-cash impairments will be required.
In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, the firm 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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