JD Sports Fashion fined £60,000 for fire safety breaches

The retailer was charged the five-figure sum after inspectors revisited their store at intu Merry Hill - following an advisory notice issued at a previous inspection.

The company admitted six offences at a hearing before a District Judge in Wolverhampton on Thursday 19th October.

West Midlands Fire Services discovered 'serious breaches' including a fire escape route blocked by crates and stock, which reduced its width to just 30cm - less than half the legal requirement.

The prosecution followed a routine fire safety check before Christmas in 2015 at the same store and the adjoining branch of 'Scotts', another fascia within the retail group. Both stores share their non-retail spaces. Mick Norton, one of our Fire Inspection Officers, said:

“It beggars belief that the company compromised the safety of their staff and Christmas shoppers in this way. In spite of our warning that we would be revisiting, breaches were again identified when we returned two weeks later.

“We do everything we can to advise businesses on fire safety, but will not hesitate to prosecute if our advice is ignored. 

Fire inspectors found shelving units and other fixtures blocking a fire door, underneath a sign clearly stating the area should be kept clear.

"Retailers must realise they can’t put profit before people’s safety by over-stocking, reducing the width of escape routes and blocking fire exit routes.”

A former member of staff at the store, who didn't wish to be named, added: 

"It's shocking - but not a surprise. When we first started in the store, the stock rooms and fire exits were always overcrowded with stock or fixtures and it's been refurbished and expanded twice since then.

"However it's not something exclusive to this store - it's becoming more prevalent across retail in general. Times are hard and it seems economising is becoming the norm."

The company was fined £10,000 for each of six offences and ordered to pay costs of nearly £7,500.

Spaces in corridors, which would be used in an emergency, were reduced to 30cm rather than the required minimum of 75cm. 


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