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LONDON Dec 15 Leading British sportswear
retailer JD Sports Fashion said it would review
employment policies at its main distribution centre after
undercover reporters raised concerns about working conditions at
The firm, which reported record first-half profit in
September, said on Thursday it would investigate allegations
made in a Channel 4 News report, including a claim from workers
that conditions at its Kingsway facility in northern England
"were worse than a prison".
The Channel 4 News expose came a year after a newspaper
investigation shone a critical light on the treatment of staff
at rival Sports Direct.
JD, whose shares fell 7 percent in early trading before
recovering to trade up 0.7 percent by 1035 GMT, said it would
retrain all supervisory and security staff at the facility as a
matter of urgency. Around 1,500 people work at Kingsway, close
to the city of Manchester in northwest England.
Iain Wright, chair of parliament's business committee, told
Channel 4 News he was disgusted by its findings and said JD's
management should explain itself in front of lawmakers.
British lawmakers criticised Sports Direct in July for
"appalling" working conditions "closer to that of a Victorian
warehouse than that of a modern retailer".
JD, which has a market value of 3.1 billion pounds ($3.9
billion) after its stock rose 51 percent this year, said it was
"deeply disappointed and concerned by the footage", which
included one team leader saying that staff could be sacked on
the spot for sitting down - an allegation the firm denied.
"Our employees are vital to our business, so we take any
such allegations very seriously," it said.
"As a result, we will undertake to conduct a review of all
our policies, their communication and implementation at the
Peel Hunt analyst Jonathan Pritchard, who has a "Buy" stance
on JD, believes the firm had handled the issue well.
"We think that JD's mature response to the problem will
ensure that it does not snowball as an issue," he said.
"As for the impact on the business, we think that it will be
negligible...We continue to believe that current trading is very
($1 = 0.7980 pounds)
(Reporting by Kate Holton and James Davey; Editing by Paul
Sandle and Keith Weir)