Ritual Gym abruptly closes as funds dry up and key investor pulls out, members in the dark over fee refunds

Company in "provisional liquidation", but says it is exploring ways to get the gym back up and running as soon as possible

Ritual Gym Holland Village outlet (Photo: Ritual Gym website)
Ritual Gym Holland Village outlet (Photo: Ritual Gym website)

SINGAPORE — Boutique fitness company Ritual Gym abruptly ceased operations of all four of its branches on Thursday (29 February) and is currently in "provisional liquidation" — an emergency measure to protect company assets.

Members were notified of the news via email on Thursday afternoon. The email stated, “We share this message with you today with great sadness. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to continue operating, we have decided to close the business and have ceased operations at all locations in Singapore."

The gym added it is "exploring ways to get the Ritual experience back up and running as soon as possible".

Cameron Lindsay Duncan and David Dong-Won Kim of advisory firm KordaMentha have been appointed provisional liquidators to handle proceedings.

Key investor backed out of deal

Brad Robinson, one of the Ritual Gym's founders, told The Business Times that the closure was decided after a key investor backed out of a deal that would have kept the business afloat. The gym had been struggling to secure investors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’ve been fighting for our lives every day’," said Robinson, who is also the chief executive. He added that the gym's 35 full-time employees, including coaches and receptionists, will be compensated.

Following the announcement, members took to Reddit and Instagram to air their grievances over the gym's closures and to ask for refunds. Some gym members told CNA they they had subscribed for a membership just three days ago, while others had “credits” left unused.

As of publication, Ritual Gym's website is still operational, but its Facebook page is inaccessible, while its Instagram account has been set to private. Should gym members or the public have enquiries, they may contact the Provisional Liquidators' office via email at ritualgym@kordamentha.com.

About Ritual Gym

Ritual Gym opened its first outlet in 2013 via a partnership among personal trainer Ian Tan, mixed martial arts athlete Brad Robinson, and television host Olli Pettigrew. It was touted as a first-of-its-kind fitness gym to offer 30-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.

The gym chain had four locations — Holland Village, Orchard Road, Tiong Bahru and Joo Chiat. According to its website, memberships were priced from $219 a month and $30.18 per session.

In 2019, the gym told Yahoo Southeast Asia about its franchise expansion plans in Singapore and internationally to locations such as Sao Paulo in Brazil, Johannesburg in South Africa, Madrid in Spain and Santa Monica in the United States.

At least three other gym closures last year

According to The Straits Times, Ritual Gym's closure follows the closure of at least three other gyms last year — Haus Athletics in April, UFC Gym in May, and Fenix Fitness in August.

Last September, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) reported that consumers lost more than S$20,000 in advance payments for gym and fitness club packages, in the first six months of 2023.

CASE's president, Melvin Yong, advised consumers then to consider shorter-term memberships or pay-per-use options, as recovering money from prepaid memberships due to sudden business closure is generally challenging.

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