DW Sports, the sports retailer and gym group, has collapsed and will enter administration.
The company, which was founded by Dave Whelan, has 73 gyms and 75 shops in the UK. The closures will risk 1,700 jobs.
After stores and gyms were closed during the lockdown, the group’s income plummeted and plans to appoint insolvency specialists.
“As a consequence of Covid-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by Government to close down both our retail store portfolio and our gym chain in its entirety for a protracted period, leaving us with a high fixed-cost base and zero income,” said Martin Long, DW Sport’s chief executive.
“Like many other retail businesses, the consequences of this extremely challenging operating market have created inevitable profitability issues for DW Sports.
“The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect viable parts of the business, return them to profitability, and secure as many jobs as possible.
“It is a difficult model for any business to manage through without long-term damage, and with the limited support which we have been able to gain.
“Having exhausted all other available options for the business, we firmly believe that this process can be a platform to restructure the business and preserve many of our gyms for our members, and also protect the maximum number of jobs possible for our team members,” he added.
The group was hit hard during the lockdown. Whilst DW Sports previously had a £15m income every month, it plummeted to zero overnight whilst still having £3m wage bills.
Fitness First is the group’s sister company and will remain unaffected by the closures.