Fitness Chain “Burned About £500,000 per Day” After Losing 12% Of Members Through Lockdown

Fitness chain PureGym suffered pre-tax losses of almost £215 million last year after the forced closure of its sites due to Government-imposed lockdowns. Large parts of the fitness industry fought to remain open during lockdowns with some gyms risking £10,000 fines by refusing to close their doors to customers. Before the second national lockdown, one gym owner said: “We should be doing everything we can to get people healthier and fitter,” adding that “gyms save the NHS”. But venues were forced to close, costing PureGym alone about £500,000 a day. The Mail has the story.

The Leeds-based company registered a massive 40% plunge in revenue during 2020 as gyms were shut for 44% of the year’s trading days. In pre-pandemic 2019, it recorded losses of around £40 million. 

Despite trying to strike a note of optimism after gyms in England reopened on April 12th, Chief Executive Humphrey Cobbold called the company’s trading performance “frankly awful” and “out of hands”. The financial statement exceeds his stated fears of a £120 million loss caused by shutdowns. 

PureGym reported seeing more than a million workouts completed across its 240 gyms in the first week of the roadmap as people try to shed unwanted pounds after being trapped inside for three months.

But in a statement released today, Mr Cobbold called 2020 “a very tough year” and blamed restrictions for “preventing us from trading” and causing “a severe impact on our financial performance”. He previously told the BBC that PureGym was “burning about £500,000 a day” due to “brutal” lockdowns. 

“We had to run a business with zero income for extended periods, a previously unthinkable scenario,” Mr Cobbold admitted today. “We had to make major operational changes in the tightest of time frames and alter our proposition in weeks that would have taken years in normal times.” …

PureGym is one of the biggest losers of the pandemic, with Covid restrictions hammering leisure, hospitality and travel industries hardest. 

Trade organisation ukactive has highlighted the impact of lockdowns on the nation’s health and the fitness industry in particular.

Polling by ukactive and ComRes suggested 42% of UK adults were sitting for at least 14 hours longer per week during lockdown.

A survey by ukactive of its members showed approximately 400 facilities had already been lost during the crisis, while lockdown had resulted in £90 million in lost membership fees each week.

January is normally a key period for new joiners and renewals and usually sees 30% growth.  

Worth reading in full.

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