GYM and Sports retailer DW Sports, a gym and sports retailer with council owned premises in Warrington, has appointed administrators, putting 1,700 jobs at risk.
Founded by the former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan with 73 gyms and 75 stores across the UK, it has become the latest high profile victim of the coronavirus pandemic, after last month, stating it said it would shut 25 stores.
The company’s website has already ceased trading and the company saus it will work with administrators to save as many gyms as possible, while all of its shops will eventually close.
In 2016 Warrington Borough Council bought the town centre building in a deal believed to be worth around £4 million, leasing the premises back to DW Sports.
It formed part of the council’s property investment portfolio.
The land is seen as prime development pland as part of the ongoing redevelopment of Warrington town centre
Meanwhile Dw Sports Chief Executive Martin Long said in a company statement: “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 will give us the best chance to protect viable parts of the business, return them to profitability, and secure as many jobs as possible.
“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.”
A Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said “The site was bought as part of the Town Centre land acquisition, and was always anticipated as a future development within Time Square. The council, as owner of the property, is entitled to receive rent up until the end of the existing lease, which is 2022. Any change to this would need negotiating with the tenant.”