SPORTS Direct has announced it will close during the Coronavirus crisis after all.

The U-turn comes after the company faced a backlash for claiming it was an essential service and would not be closing.


It now says it will not open "until we are given the go-ahead by the government".

SPORTS Direct bosses have vowed to defy the Government's order for shops selling non-essential goods to close during the Coronavirus crisis.

Supermarkets, filling stations and pharmacies are among vital services being allowed to remain open following new measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.

But Sports Direct, which has an outlet in East Street, Taunton, says it will also stay open "where possible" as it is "uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible".

Bosses claim the company provides an essential service because it sells equipment allowing people to exercise at home while gyms remain closed.

Chris Wootton, finance boss at Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct, said in a letter: "Our Sports Direct and Evans stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the Government's current social distancing guidance.

"There is no one else that has the range of product and range of stores to make this reasonably accessible for the whole population."

But Michael Gove told the BBC this morning: "We will be talking to everyone effected but it is clear to me that Sports Direct is not essential retail."