To save the situation, industry representatives turned to the Russian government for help. The official appeal of the National Fitness Community (NFS), which unites about 2,000 fitness clubs from 79 regions of Russia, to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, contains complaints about the inability to repay preferential loans under the payroll 3.0 program.
These loans were issued to mitigate the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. However, this year, despite the recession of the pandemic, the financial situation in fitness has only worsened. The fitness economy was “finished off” by a military operation.
“After February 24, the demand for fitness services fell sharply, the industry faced a shortage of sports equipment, which led to an increase in costs,” Forbes notes.
Industry representatives are asking the authorities to allow the restructuring of last year's loans or write off these loans completely, since it is impossible to repay them in the current situation. If help is not received from the authorities, every third fitness club in the country will be closed. This forecast was presented by the head of the NSF Elena Silina.
The preferential loan program payroll 3.0 was introduced in 2021 to combat unemployment amid the pandemic. Enterprises from the most affected sectors were provided with preferential loans for salaries of up to 500 million rubles at a rate of 3% per annum on the promise to keep at least 90% of the staff. It took a year and a half to pay off the debt. In the first six months, do not pay anything, and in the next year - repay the loan in equal installments. However, it has now become clear that 70% of the market participants who took out such loans were unable to repay them. The reason is the lack of funds on the balance sheet. All the money was "eaten" by taxes, salaries, utilities and rent. Since February, the demand for fitness services has fallen against the background of falling incomes of the population, and the costs of clubs have increased by another 25%. Rent and equipment became more expensive, and it turned out to be problematic to attract new customers in the midst of the financial crisis.
Over the past year, 5 million people have quit doing fitness in the country.
As a result, the fitness industry has fallen into a deep financial hole, from which it is impossible to get out without the help of the authorities.
Recall that earlier the Association of Fitness Industry Operators predicted a significant reduction in the number of people involved in sports in gyms in the next six months. According to forecasts, revenues during this period may collapse by half. At the same time, at least five thousand fitness clubs were closed throughout the country during the coronavirus pandemic, it was noted earlier.
If the authorities do not help the sports industry, then by the end of the year another 35% of sports clubs in Russia will be closed, which is 2,700 facilities.
Data on the reaction of the government to the letter of the NSF has not yet been received.