Ritual Gym co-founder: “We were burning money” following the abrupt closure of its Singaporean locations.

Brad Robinson, the chief executive and co-founder of Ritual Gym, blamed the Covid-19 outbreak for the company’s financial difficulties one day after all of its locations abruptly closed. When the boutique fitness gym’s members learned via email on February 29 that it was closing all four of its locations—on Orchard Road, in Holland Village, Tiong Bahru, and Joo Chiat—and that it had “placed the company in provisional liquidation,” they were taken aback. Prior to the epidemic, Robinson told The Straits Times, company was “booming,” but it finally crashed when a major investor withdrew from a contract that would have kept them viable.

 

He stated: “The pandemic is directly to blame for the failure of so many gyms and businesses. We believed we could beat the trendline, but in reality, this is what happened.” A major investment bank that we had obtained a substantial funding round from was scheduled to fly here to announce the deal for the launch of our Orchard Road outpost. The estimated cost was $20 million, and their arrival was scheduled for two days following the circuit breaker (in April 2020). He said, “No one wanted to invest in a fitness brand no matter how sexy it was, one month before the pandemic, or how much money it was making,” noting that the agreement had fallen through.

 

He claimed that because the company was cash-strapped, it had to “scramble” to try to prevent going out of business. “We never expected to have to close, but we were forced to do so by really harsh circumstances. Between 2017 and 2020, it reported net losses for four years in a row. Revenue for the company decreased to $1.6 million in FY2021 from $2.8 million in the previous year. Ritual was among the first boutique fitness brands in this country, according to Singapore Fitness Alliance president Sean Tan. He noted that Ritual’s regrettable closure was mostly caused by the “Covid overhang,” as the company found it difficult to pay back significant rental arrears in a post-Covid environment marked by increased competition, rising rents and costs, and a shortage of labor.

 

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