SoulCycle is closing 25% of its studios

It’s not just Peloton that’s spinning into trouble: Indoor cycling studio SoulCycle is closing about 25% of its locations.

It’s yet another signal that consumers’ exercise habits continue to change as the pandemic wears on.

In the coming days, SoulCycle will shutter around 20 of its 83 studios: six in the New York City area, five in California and others in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Georgia. It will also close down in Toronto, which means a complete exit from Canada.

SoulCycle has three locations in D.C. It did not say which would close.

“As riders continue to return to in-studio classes there have been many shifts as a result of the pandemic,” a SoulCycle spokesperson told CNN Business in a statement, saying some of those shifts are geography-based and the company “assess[ed] whether there is an opportunity to right-size in certain markets.”

Customers who frequent a studio that’s closing were informed via email over the weekend, and about 75 of SoulCycle’s approximately 1,350 employees will be laid off as a result of the closures.

The news comes soon after Peloton — whose stock is down more than 90% from its pandemic-induced peak in late 2020 — announced a major shift in strategy. On Friday, Peloton revealed another round of layoffs, price hikes for some of its products and the closure of many of its retail showrooms.

Peloton had received a boost from Covid-19 closures, as consumers looked to exercise from home when gyms shuttered. But SoulCycle, which has largely focused on in-studio classes, was hit with the other side of that trend.

SoulCycle was forced to close its studios as Covid first hit American shores, and some didn’t reopen until about a year later as state and local rules allowed — including its flagship in New York. The privately held company, owned by Equinox, did open some SoulCycle studios outdoors and even created an $2,500 at-home bike in an effort to weather the pandemic.

Affordable chains thriving

Fitness chains and independent gyms at large have been hit hard, with roughly one-third of fitness locations closing during the pandemic. That resulted in the loss of 1.5 million jobs, according to a report from IHRSA, a fitness advisory group.

Flywheel, a similar indoor spin concept, permanently closed in September 2020. Makers of in-home fitness equipment are also struggling, including NordicTrack’s parent company iFit Health and Fitness. It scrapped its initial public offering at the last minute a few months ago and Tonal cut 35% of its staff in July.

But affordable gym chains, like Planet Fitness, appear to be thriving. The chain, which charges as low as $10 for a monthly membership, reported in its earnings last week that it grew its membership base to 16.5 million.

“We believe our high-quality affordable fitness experience will resonate now more than ever as Americans are seeking value and feeling the rising costs of everyday items, such as food and gas,” CEO Chris Rondeau said in an earnings call, adding that he’s noticed that people are “trading down” from high-priced gyms.

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This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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