California Fitness shuts another outlet

Its Raffles Place gym was repossessed by landlord, leaving customers and staff in the lurch.

Gym chain California Fitness Singapore closed its Raffles Club branch at Republic Plaza in Raffles Place on Saturday morning (July 16).

Not all employees and gym members were informed of the closure beforehand. On Friday, while the outlet was open, members who were there were told to leave early because the gym had to perform maintenance work.

California Fitness Singapore posted a short message on Facebook at about 8am on Saturday saying, “Dear members: Raffles Club is closed until further notice. Members please proceed to Novena and Bugis Clubs. Thank you.” It put up a similar notice at its Republic Plaza outlet.

The building management at Republic Plaza repossessed the premises and terminated the lease agreement after the fitness franchise failed to pay rent, according to a report by The Sunday Times.

The abrupt closure has left many California Fitness members upset and worried that the gym operator’s financial troubles in Hong Kong are spreading to Singapore.

Last week, the gym franchise owner JV Fitness shut down all 12 outlets in Hong Kong after chalking up millions of dollars in debts. Two staff members there were also arrested in May over an allegation that a customer was offered a free trial before her credit card was charged HK$140,000 for classes without her consent.

In Singapore, two outlets are left, at Bugis and Novena Square. Its Ngee Ann City gym shut down in February.

Members asked the gym to give them an explanation for the closure, while some turned up at the remaining branches to demand a refund for their membership packages.

There has been no official reply from California Fitness Singapore so far.

This year, Singapore’s consumer watchdog, the Consumers Association of Singapore, has assisted in 11 complaints against California Fitness Singapore.

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