Shock closure of Aussie fitness giant
A leading fitness company has been left on the brink of collapse after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.
Muscle Coach is a major Australian health and fitness company, specialising in vitamins and supplements and operating six "superstores" across Brisbane and Melbourne.
But this month it was put into voluntary administration and five of its stores have abruptly shut, upsetting customers and leaving a number of employees out of a job.
While stores in West End and Newmarket in Queensland and Blackburn, Ferntree Gully and Cheltenham in Victoria will remain closed, the brand's online store and the bricks-and-mortar outlet in Coorparoo in Brisbane will continue operating as usual.
Administrator Darryl Kirk from Cor Cordis told news.com.au it had since been purchased by another unnamed fitness company for an undisclosed figure in a confidential sale.
"The business has been sold - I can't tell you to who or for what price, but it has definitely been sold," Mr Kirk confirmed.
"There was a sale process we went through with a competitive bid, and as a result we've been able to manage to get the brand preserved and purchased.
"The purchaser is looking to continue on with the brand and its presence."
Mr Kirk said there had been a "consolidation" of physical stores but that it was business as usual for the online platform.
He said Muscle Coach had accumulated debts of almost $1 million to a "principal financier, the Australian Taxation Office and some other trade creditors".
According to the Courier Mail, one of the business's directors had been diagnosed with serious health issues earlier in 2019, a factor Mr Kirk said "most certainly" contributed to the company's woes.
"It's pretty sad," he said.
"But I think any situation where you're able to preserve at least part of a business and the core of a business - and allow the business to continue on - is valuable."
He said there may be a "short period of adjustment" but that customers would still be able to buy from the store.
Mr Kirk said the fitness and supplement industry was a highly competitive one, and that the sector had "a lot of players" and was "coming under a lot of pressure" in recent times.
In a series of Facebook posts, the company hinted at issues facing the company.
"Hey Guys, Muscle Coach is temporarily closed however our Coorparoo store will be reopening in the next 24hrs. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are working to relaunch with new operators and we will be updating all customers shortly. Thank you for your continued support of MC!" administrators posted on November 7.
And on Friday, it provided an update, posting that Muscle Coach was "in the process of transitioning to a new owner".
"The online store is currently in the process of being restocked. Further communication from the new owner will be sent out shortly," the team wrote.
"We thank you for the ongoing support and encourage you to take advantage of the sales."
AUSSIE RETAIL IN TROUBLE
Sadly, Muscle Coach is just one of many Australian retailers to have run into trouble in 2019.
In January, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.
At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire announced the cult make-up chain's 56 Aussie stores had closed for stocktake. Administrators were appointed, and scores of stores have since collapsed.
Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise this year, along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.
Last month, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett's Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later, and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.
And just weeks ago it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui had collapsed after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving some angry customers in the lurch.