Local fitness brand True Fitness has ceased operations of all its gyms and spa centres in Malaysia on 10 June 2017, a day after it suddenly closed in Thailand.
According to a statement posted on True Fitness Malaysia's website on 9 June 2017, the company said "the past few years have proved challenging, and unfortunately the businesses are no longer financially viable due to evolving market conditions".
In a statement to A+M, a spokesperson from True Group said the Malaysian economy has been deteriorating since the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) two years ago. As such, consumer confidence has been affected by the economic uncertainty.
"The high consumer debts, where many people have started to prioritise living expenses over fitness options have also contributed as one of the reasons for the closure," the spokesperson said.
According to the spokesperson, various attempts have been made to revive the business but True Fitness Malaysia was unsuccessful in getting sufficient flexibility from its landlords, and creditors, to restructure the business in time. Hence, the final decision to cease operations was made with its creditors this week.
True Fitness said arrangements have been made for Malaysian members to continue their workout sessions at Chi Fitness. The company is also searching for "a reputable service provider" to service its spa customers. However, it is unable to conduct cash refunds to its members.
True Fitness Thailand closed abruptly on 8 June 2017 without informing its members, according to Thai media outlet Khaosod English. Neither did the fitness chain contact them to provide refunds or compensation.
The spokesperson said Thailand has been a challenging market ever since the social upheaval with the flooding and military interventions. The local consumer market is still struggling. According to the spokesperson, True Fitness Thailand was shut down by the landlord, leaving them with little time to make the necessary arrangements.
True Group's spokesperson said the closures in Malaysia and Thailand will not affect the True Fitness centres in Singapore and Taiwan as well as its expansion plans in China, as the former two are "separate and distinct legal entities". Its centres in Singapore, Taiwan and China have entered into an agreement with Hong Kong-listed company Tongfang Kontafarma to grow the brand in the three countries.
Meanwhile in Singapore, California Fitness stopped all operations in July 2016. This comes following the brand shutting its clubs across China and Hong Kong. According to a press statement, J.V. Fitness, operator of California Fitness, does not have adequate liquid resources to continue its operations.