Thousands of people have been left out of pocket as weight loss organisation Scottish Slimmers announced it has fallen into liquidation.
All classes have been cancelled with immediate effect and the company, which was bought by entrepreneur Amanda Boyle last year, said that refunds would not be given on membership passes.
Chief executive Ms Boyle said that the structure of the classes, as well as “legacy issues” around the financial model for the company, were “unsustainable”, adding that the new management team had been unable to rely on previous reporting and company data. She bought the business - founded 39 years ago as a local slimming class in Aberdeen - in March 2018 for a six-figure sum through her company, Best You (Wellbeing).
Ms Boyle, who claimed that the costs of running the 140-strong class network were twice the level of the annual revenue they generated, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make as I know how much the network of classes means to our members and how our community of members has valued the support of their class coaches in their healthy living and weight loss programmes. Many of our coaches have years of enthusiastic and loyal service and I understand that this decision is a very difficult one for them.”
However, she unveiled plans to create a social enterprise company to continue the class network where all profits return to the social enterprise - after a short break.
She added: “I sincerely hope that creating a social enterprise which meets a genuine need in many communities can successfully provide a class network of support for those who want to adopt a healthier eating habits and lifestyle. This should mean that following a short period where there will be no classes, members will be able to once again access the support and encouragement they have had from Scottish Slimmers.”
All existing members affected by the liquidation will be given free access to the Scottish Slimmers online service and digital service which are run by companies unaffected by the liquidation. Similarly, the Scottish Slimmers-branded food products are unaffected and will continue to be available through all usual outlets.
Thirty members of staff, including those in headquarters as well as coaches across the class network are affected by the collapse.
Ms Boyle, who has a twenty year career in commercialising innovation at various companies, was appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University in 2017.
Blair Milne, restructuring partner based in Campbell Dallas’ Glasgow office, was appointed as liquidator yesterday.