Branches of struggling California Fitness shut down across Hong Kong
Written announcement circulated among staff says gym chain and two sister companies are closing their doors
Struggling California Fitness shut down on Tuesday along with sister centres mYoga and Leap in what could be the end of the road for the gym chain, according to a company announcement being circulated among staff late Monday.
A source showed the Post a notice dated July 12 informing staff that all outlets under JV Fitness, which runs 12 gym centres under the three companies, would cease operations effective on Tuesday until further announcements.
The notice said operating capital had been frozen in light of a pending winding-up petition and the group would have to close business because it was short of cash.
“Should there be new updates, the group will make public announcements,” it said.
Since its Whampoa outlet closed last Monday, California Fitness has been hit by more trouble, putting what the Post understands to be 100,000 members and 500 employees in limbo.
An employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “So many colleagues are going back to the gyms to pick up their stuff.”
Local media reported later in the night on Monday that the same notice had been posted at the gates of some branches.
Separately, the Post was also shown an email purportedly signed by Wong Lun, the sole director of JV Fitness, asking staff to “keep clubs’ doors shut properly”.
By doing so, the email informed them, their belongings could be returned once the winding-up procedures had been activated. “We are sorry, and thank you,” the email said.
Wong is being currently sought by the Customs and Excise Department, as the Post understands, after two senior executives were picked up by the department on suspicion of violating the city’s trade description law against false advertising of goods and services.
The chain’s Shanghai branch will close from today as well. The announcement came days after California Fitness shut its Beijing branch citing “internal reorganisation” from last Friday. But it reopened on Monday.
A notice posted by the company at Shanghai Plaza on Huaihai Zhong Road, Lu Wan district, on Monday said it would close temporarily from today, again for “internal reorganisation.”
It advised customers to pay attention to its website and social media, or to call directly, for the reopening day.