Lockdown Is Costing PureGym £500,000 a Day

Annie Hayes
·2-min read
Photo credit: Mike Harrington - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Harrington - Getty Images

From Men's Health

From small, community-run studios to multi-site franchises, the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic has been nothing short of devastating for the nation’s gyms. Even the UK’s biggest chain is struggling to make ends meet during lockdown, with dormant treadmills and empty locker rooms costing PureGym hundreds of thousands of pounds with every passing day.

“We are burning about £500,000 a day, and that’s the average over eight months of closure,” CEO Humphrey Cobbold told the BBC’s Today programme. That’s an eye-watering £120 million of costs to keep the group’s 275 gym sites afloat. “It’s been brutally tough,” he added.

While the government furlough scheme has paid a huge chunk of staff salaries, he said, the business has still had to fork out for pension contributions and navigate sizeable rent arrears. However, having raised funds from investors to keep the business buoyant, Cobbold maintains that PureGym is raring to reopen its doors to its million-plus members.

Gym studios and fitness centres are set to reopen on 12 April, according to the PM’s blueprint for phasing the country out of lockdown, so he won’t have to hang on too long. “The sooner the better within safe operating procedures for us,” Cobbold said. “We can make a massive contribution to the health of the nation.” With 49 days to go – equivalent to £24,500,000 – let’s just hope he has deep pockets.

The question is, after so much time out, are gym-goers willing to return to the squat rack? According to a study by RunRepeat, one fifth of already-active adults said the gym was their primary way of staying fit at the beginning of last year. Now, just 6.8 per cent feel that the gym is their best option for keeping fit in 2021. When the time comes to ditch our home workout regimen, the nation might need convincing.

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