Closing down sale starts at major Crawley store as 1,700 jobs at risk at chain

A major sports store chain with a branch in Crawley has announced it expects to appoint administrators today (August 3).

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 5:01 pm

DW Sports, which has a branch in the Martlets, said it is restructuring its gym and retail portfolio, which is made up of 73 gyms, 75 retail sites and 1,700 employees.

A spokeswoman for the firm added: “Twenty-five of those retail sites have already closed in recent weeks and as a result of the administration, the DW Sports website will cease trading with immediate effect.

“The remaining 50 retail sites will continue to trade and will all be moving into closing down sales from today.”

DW Sports in Crawley. Photo: Google Streetview

Fitness First remains a separate company and its 43 clubs are unaffected by the administration of DW Sports, the firm said.

The spokesman added: “The strategy for the administration includes supporting employees, customers, gym members and other stakeholders of the business as far as possible while efforts are made to secure a purchaser or purchasers for some or all of the DW Sports portfolio.”

Martin Long, Group CEO, said: “As a consequence of COVID-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by Government to close down both our retail store portfolio and our gym chain in its entirety for a protracted period, leaving us with a high fixed cost base and zero income.

“Like many other retail businesses, the consequences of this extremely challenging operating market have created inevitable profitability issues for DW Sports.”

The decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but gives the best chance to protect viable parts of the business, return them to profitability, and secure jobs, he added.

A company spokesman said DW Sports will work with the administrators to save as many gyms as possible, but it is ‘inevitable’ some will close.

He added: “All staff and customers are being kept informed of the circumstances of the gym where they work and attend.”

At present, 59 have reopened in England and Northern Ireland with a further 14 sites in England, Scotland and Wales currently unable to open due to Government restrictions.

Martin Long, Group CEO, said: “It is a difficult model for any business to manage through without long term damage, and with the limited support which we have been able to gain. Having exhausted all other available options for the business, we firmly believe that this process can be a platform to restructure the business and preserve many of our gyms for our members, and also protect the maximum number of jobs possible for our team members.

“Our commitment as part of the gym Sector across the UK to support the health and the fitness of the nation has not changed and we remain committed to ensuring our members maintain their fitness goals with us where possible.”