Business as usual here, say gym chain's staff

The True Fitness centre at Velocity in Novena Square yesterday. Both this outlet and another in Ang Mo Kio were bustling with customers when ST paid a visit.
The True Fitness centre at Velocity in Novena Square yesterday. Both this outlet and another in Ang Mo Kio were bustling with customers when ST paid a visit.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Members worried by closures abroad though it just opened another outlet here, plans more

True Fitness might have ceased operations in Malaysia and Thailand, but it's business as usual for outlets in Singapore, say local staff.

In fact, the home-grown chain opened a new outlet at Viva Business Park in Chai Chee just last week.

Also, checks with online job portals showed that the chain is hiring for various positions, including fitness instructors, sales consultants and customer service officers.

When The Straits Times visited two outlets in Ang Mo Kio and Novena yesterday, both were bustling with customers.

Said a staff member who declined to be named: "As far as we know, it's business as usual for Singapore."

According to The Bangkok Post, gym members who showed up at a True Fitness outlet in Bangkok last Thursday found it shuttered.

The following day, the company announced that it was pulling out of Thailand as business there was "no longer financially viable due to evolving market conditions".

CONCERNED GYM MEMBER

I haven't heard anything about the Singapore outlets, but I am worried... I asked the staff about the issue, but they said that Singapore is not affected.

MR DYLAN WONG, who works in the healthcare industry and is about halfway through his one-year membership.

 
 

This was followed by an announcement last Saturday that the group would be closing all of its True Fitness and True Spa outlets in Malaysia as well.

The abrupt closures come less than a month after True Group chief executive Patrick Wee said that he has plans to establish 20 new clubs in China over the coming three years, in a $51 million collaboration with Hong Kong-listed Tongfang Kontafarma.

The group, which has 10 clubs and 47,000 members in Singapore, plans to open one to two more outlets each year in the city fringe over the next few years.

Members that The Straits Times spoke to yesterday expressed concern about the situation.

"I haven't heard anything about the Singapore outlets, but I am worried," said 27-year-old Dylan Wong, who works in the healthcare industry. He has a one-year membership that he is about halfway through.

"I asked the staff about the issue, but they said that Singapore is not affected," he added.

Ms Hung Zi Yun, 31, who works out at the Novena outlet - which housed gym chain California Fitness before it closed down last year - said news of the closures overseas had unsettled her.

"I used to be with California Fitness, so I hope they are not the second California," she said. "But there is nothing I can do, so I'll just hang on to my membership here as long as I can."

When California Fitness shut down in July last year, it owed more than $20 million combined to around 27,000 members in terms of unused gym access and unredeemed personal training sessions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Business as usual here, say gym chain's staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe