Sports Direct
Sports Direct says that Channel 4 did not give it time to respond to Dispatches allegationsReuters

Sports Direct has hit back at Channel 4 over its Dispatches documentary which criticised the retailer's treatment of employees and customers.

The Dispatches episode Secrets of Sports Direct, which aired on 27 April, shows Mike Ashley's firm naming and shaming employees over the tannoy system at its Shirebrook depot for not working fast enough.

Staff also told the Channel 4 investigation that they are under the impression that they could lose their job at any moment with the same depot also using a "six strikes and you're out" disciplinary procedure where staff can be punished for "long toilet breaks, excessive chatting and even for having time off for sickness," according to Channel 4.

However, Sports Direct has hit back at the broadcaster and said that it didn't give it the chance to defend itself or launch an investigation before Dispatches was aired.

"Dispatches has chosen not to provide us with full details of their complaints and did not offer sufficient time for us to investigate and respond," a statement sent to IBTimes UK read.

"The programme relates to alleged events going back to July 2014 and yet the company was only given a week to respond. This means that it has been impossible for us to assess Dispatches' complaints properly."

Channel 4 also claims that Sports Direct has been misleading customers with its discounting, and gave an example from the Piccadilly Circus store where Nike trainers had been reduced from £74.99 to £59.99.

However, the trainers had never been in store for the larger amount. One clerk told Channel 4: "We always reduce most of our shoes when we get them in. So, it's pretty normal for us to reduce them straightaway."

The trainers were available for £74.99 to pre-order on Sports Direct's website since the previous day but the government rules stipulate that an item must be on sale for four weeks before discounting can be applied.

Sports Direct said: "There is no secret to our success: hard work, great staff, great quality products at great prices.

"As such we take any allegation that we may have breached consumer protection or employment regulations very seriously.

"It seems clear, however, that Dispatches has selected only a tiny minority of discounted products from the thousands that pass through Sports Direct's retail channels at any one time."