Gym giant declares bankruptcy
Fitness chain Gold's Gym has filed for bankruptcy after the COVID-19 epidemic forced the closure of branches across the US and the world.
The news was confirmed by president and CEO Adam Zeitsiff this week, although he stressed the company was "not going out of business".
"Gold's Gym has been the world's trusted fitness authority for going on 55 years, and we are absolutely not going anywhere," Mr Zeitsiff said in a video message announcing the bankruptcy filing.
But he said the coronavirus had impacted the company "deeply and in many ways" and confirmed the permanent closure of 30 company-owned outlets in the US.
Mr Zeitsiff said the company was "working around the clock to reopen our remaining company-owned locations stronger than ever" and that the wider company was working "hand-in-hand" with franchisees who had also been forced to close temporarily.
"I want to make it extremely clear that their businesses are independent from ours and are not tied to this filing in any way," he said.
There are almost 700 Gold's Gyms across the world, including directly franchised gyms in Fyshwick, Mandurah, Miranda, North Sydney, Port Kennedy and Rockingham in Australia.
In a statement, the company confirmed it had "filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 in an effort to facilitate the financial restructuring of the company".
"This pre-negotiated filing will enable us to emerge stronger and ready to grow, and it is our intent to be on the other side of Chapter 11 by August 1, if not sooner," the statement reads.
"The global COVID-19 pandemic spurred us to take immediate action, including the difficult but necessary decision to permanently close about 30 company-owned gyms, to maintain the strength and growth of the potential of the brand as well as ensure the continued viability of the company for decades to come.
"We have been working with our landlords to ensure that the remaining company-owned gyms reopen stronger than ever coming out of this pandemic.
"To be clear, the filing should not impact our licensing division, it is not associated with any of our locally-owned franchise gyms, nor will it prevent us from continuing to support our system of nearly 700 gyms around the world."
Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy in the US involving a reorganisation of a debtor's business affairs, debts and assets.
Gold's Gym was founded in California by Joe Gold in 1965 and it came to be known as the "Mecca of bodybuilding".
By 1977 it was famous thanks to bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.