300 gyms close as turnover falls 42%
Around 300 gyms closed their doors in 2020, 5,000 lost their jobs and 200,000 members cancelled their membership.
This was the bleak reality for Portugal’s exercise and fitness sector last year which saw revenues plummet by 42% to just over €167 million.
The worrying data comes from Portugal Ativo, the association which represents the sector which has also seen hopes dashed to achieve its target to get a million people to get fit in gyms in 2021.
“The recovery of Portugal’s gyms is totally dependent on the development of the health crisis and the success of the vaccination plan,” it states.
Despite suffering from the new restrictions imposed on districts that are now in the red zone in terms of rising R numbers, Portugal Ativo believes that the beginning of the recovery might be seen by September, with many gym operators planning to continue with their expansion plans.
Juan del Rio, CEO of the group VivaGym which runs Fitness Hut told Diário de Notícias that its plans for growth have not changed. The chain aims to begin an expansion plan in 2022 which foresees 60 gyms to 2024.
Fitness Hut currently has 43 gyms and only decided to close down one gym definitively because of lost business over the past 12 months.
Fitness Hut says that between March 2020 and March 2021, “gyms had to close for six months in total which was “horrible” . The chain’s sales plummeted 40% to €26.5 million with the loss of many members.
Membership numbers fell from 125,000 to 80,000. With lockdown measures eased in the spring, the group began to feel some recovery, but expects real recovery to only pickup from September this year.