Sports Direct’s share price has nosedived today after founder Mike Ashley admitted the embattled retailer is “in trouble”.
Shares are currently trading down 10%.
In an interview with the Times, Ashley, the retailer’s founder and deputy chairman, said: “We are in trouble, we are not trading very well. We can’t make the same profit we made last year.”
The retailer warned on profits in January, but it is not immediately clear if Ashley’s comments relate to more recent trading.
Separately billionaire Ashley is facing further pressure to appear before MPs to explain the working conditions faced by Sports Direct’s warehouse staff.
In the House of Commons today MPs again rounded on the company. Labour MP David Winnick raised the idea of calling Ashley to the main House of Commons chamber due to the “obvious contempt” he has shown for Parliament.
The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has called on Sports Direct’s founder to appear before it on June 7.
However Ashley has provoked the ire of MPs by branding them a “joke” and repeatedly refusing to appear before the committee.
Ashley instead wants MPs to visit Sports Direct’s Shirebrook facility to “see it for themselves”.
The Guardian, BBC and Channel 4 have all run investigations into the working practices at Sports Direct, which led the Institute of Directors to brand the retailer a “scar on British business”.
In the Guardian’s probe, it claimed that Sports Direct’s Shirebrook facility is known locally as “the gulag” – a reference to Soviet forced labour camps.
The paper alleged that unpaid time for “rigorous” staff searches at its Shirebrook warehouse meant workers were effectively paid less than the minimum wage.
In an exclusive interview with Retail Week last year, chief executive Dave Forsey said it would do more to tackle the retailer’s tarnished reputation.