Rene Moos: 2020 Basic-Fit's 'toughest year', but outlook is encouraging
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Rene Moos: 2020 Basic-Fit's 'toughest year', but outlook is encouraging

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We believe that once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in our countries, more people will pay attention to their health and fitness and join a fitness club

Rene Moos, CEO of European health club giant Basic-Fit, has described 2020 as the most difficult faced by the group – but remains positive about the outlook for the fitness industry.

“2020 was the toughest year in the history of Basic-Fit and the fitness industry," Moos said.

"We started the year strongly, with a record number of club openings and joiners. This lasted until mid-March, when we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As a result of government measures in all our countries, we were forced to temporarily close all our clubs.

"After reopening the clubs in the middle of 2020, towards the latter part of 2020, we were once again forced to temporarily close clubs in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

"We ended 2020 with a total network of 905 clubs, of which 851 clubs were closed."

As with all other fitness operators, the closures had a severe impact on Basic-Fit's business.

Revenue for 2020 fell to €377m, from the €515m recorded in 2019, resulting in the group reporting a net loss of €125.2m – a dramatic drop from the €11m profit generated in 2019.

There was, however, a huge increase in the number of people using its digital services.

This was reflected in a total of 7 million workouts being completed via its Basic-Fit app, compared to 2 million workouts in 2019.

Despite the disruption to business, Moos said the outlook remains positive once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the attention for fitness and the desire to lead a more active and healthier lifestyle," Moos explained.

"We saw the results of this once we were able to reopen our clubs in June and July, when the number of joiners was much higher than in the same period in 2019.

"We offered our members a safe place to exercise and work on their fitness by applying strict hygiene protocols.

"Since the reopening of our clubs in June, we had more than 33 million visits to our clubs in 2020, without a single documented COVID-19 outbreak.

"In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns and prolonged club closures, we remain confident about the growth opportunities for Basic-Fit.

"The outlook may even be better, as we believe that once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in our countries, more people will pay attention to their health and fitness and join a fitness club”.

Announcing the group's full-year results, Moos also revealed that Basic-Fit had opened 121 new clubs during the year, growing the network to 905 sites.

Despite the new openings, Basic-Fit lost around 220,000 members during the year – with the total number of memberships falling from 2.22 million in 2019 to 2 million at the end of 2020.

During the year, Basic-Fit also launched a new share issue, which valued the company at around €1.334bn (market capitalisation).

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Rene Moos, CEO of European health club giant Basic-Fit, has described 2020 as the most difficult faced by the group – but remains positive about the outlook for the fitness industry.
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