LONDON, United Kingdom — Following last month’s shock closure of premium wellness club Grace Belgravia in London, fresh concerns have been raised around the impact of Brexit on the wellness industry.
Reports of the exclusive women’s-only £5,500-a-year health club being forced to cease operations due to what Co-Founder Kate Percival summed up in one word as “Brexit”, suggested the luxury club – whose members included Princess Eugenie, Pippa Middleton and Cara Delevingne – was driven to the decision because US investors and VIP members pulled out over the chaos triggered by Britain’s imminent departure from the EU.
Yet, despite growing uncertainty, fellow business owner Niki Rein of Barrecore, who co-founded the successful boutique barre brand back in 2011, insists the wellness market is still expanding. However, she added, it’s never been more important to refine your business identity and communicate that message loud and clear to your customers.
According to a statement posted on Grace Belgravia’s website and reported in the Evening Standard, Percival said of the decision: “I regret to advise that Grace Belgravia has ceased operations and the club has closed.”
The statement continued: “One word explains why — Brexit. American investors pulled out of funding the company last week because of their increasing concerns about the impact of an aggressive and chaotic Brexit.
“One of the other serious and continuing consequences of Brexit has also been the loss of some high spending members who have relocated out of the UK and the reluctance of others to renew/join because of their uncertainty of where they will be living post-March 29th.”
It has since been reported that the collapse means up to £10 million invested by its founding shareholders since its launch in 2012 will be lost to liquidators.
By contrast, Rein – who also benefits from an elite clientele including Rita Ora, Jourdan Dunn and Pippa Middleton – has moved to allay fears that Grace Belgravia’s closure could have a domino effect on London’s wellness market.
“We are confident that consumers will still continue to attend our classes, so much so that we have just opened our tenth London Barrecore studio in Islington,” she said, speaking exclusively to Welltodo.
“A growing market does bring its own challenges, particularly in the form of more competition, so its never been more important to know your core business inside and out and communicate that effectively to your target market.
“In this climate of uncertainty, coupled with the proliferation of wellness experiences at every turn, fortressing your proposition is the key to long-term success,” she added.
In 2016 Barrecore secured an undisclosed sum of investment from Octopus Investments following a 200% increase in studio openings over two years. That year the brand also announced the appointment of Peter Woods as CEO, who previously held a management position at David Lloyd Leisure.
With a further three studios in Manchester, Leeds and Bristol, the brand continues to push ahead with expansion. By finding the right sites and maintaining the quality of its proposition, for Barrecore at least, Brexit doesn’t appear to pose a threat.