WeightWatchers appears set to close dozens of Canadian locations Sunday
This image shows the logo of WeightWatchers on a mobile phone, and the company's website, in New York, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
WW International appears set to close dozens of its roughly 118 WeightWatchers locations across Canada on March 26.
While the company has not formally announced the wave of closures, profiles for the affected locations on the WeightWatchers website note that the locations will close on Sunday while inviting members to register for virtual workshops. There are notices for 37 locations.
WeightWatchers is a fee-based weight loss program that employs meal plans, in-person and virtual workshops, a meal tracking app and a dietary "points budget" system to help clients lose weight. WW International also sells branded home goods, books and grocery items.
The company has operated since 1963 and has locations in each of Canada's 10 provinces, though none in the territories. Locations are apparently set to close in every province except Quebec.
The news came as a surprise to some long-time clients, like Liliane Guertin, who first saw it circulating in a private Facebook group last Wednesday.
During her usual weight loss workshop the following night, staff confirmed her location's final in-person session would take place March 23.
"Our meeting was on Thursday night and we were told this Thursday is the last day," Guertin told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Wednesday. "Apparently at the end of this week, these so-called studios will no longer exist."
She said staff at the location also told her they would be laid off as a result of the closure.
Guertin attends weekly workshops at a WeightWatchers location in Welland, Ont., and has been a WeightWatchers member on and off for 50 years. When she learned that many of the company's Canadian locations could close this month, she opted to cancel her membership rather than register for virtual workshops.
"I work every day online, I'm not interested in doing any more online," she said. "And as far as I was concerned, they had broken the contract, so I just wanted to cancel my membership."
Dow Jones Newswires reported in February that the company planned to reduce costs across its global business operations by laying off staff, centralizing global management and terminating leases in 2023.
Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported WeightWatchers is moving into the prescription drug weight loss business with the acquisition of Sequence, a telehealth provider that offers users access to diabetes and weight loss drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy and Trulicity.
WW International did not respond to a request for comment from CTVNews.ca by publishing time.