Fashion retailer JD Sports has been hit with a £60,000 fine following an investigation into two of its branches in Dudley.
The company admitted six offences, uncovered after an investigation by West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service.
Serious breaches discovered included an escape route blocked by crates and stock, which reduced its width to just 30cm.
The case followed the service’s pre-Christmas 2015 fire safety checks at the company’s JD Sports and Scotts stores in Merry Hill shopping centre, Brierley Hill.
Mick Norton, Fire Inspection Officer, 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.
“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.”
The company was fined £10,000 for each of the six offences and ordered to pay costs of nearly £7,500.
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