Jenny Craig to shut its doors after four decades, future of New Zealand, Australian business uncertain

A Jenny Craig sign hangs on the wall outside of the weight loss store on April 28, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
A Jenny Craig sign hangs on the wall outside of the weight loss store on April 28, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that the Jenny Craig company will undergo potential mass layoffs as it hunts for a buyer. Photo credit: Getty Images

Australian-founded weight loss company Jenny Craig will reportedly close down its North American operations after almost four decades. 

Founded by Jenny Craig and her late husband Sidney in Melbourne in 1983, the weight loss and weight management business became a global empire with hundreds of centres across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A leaked email sent to its US-based employees on Tuesday (local time), obtained by NBC News, announced its operations will be closed due to an "inability to secure additional financing", with many employees reportedly set to work their final day this Friday.

The email informed staff they would receive a "final pay cheque, including your full compensation earned through your last day of work and all accrued, unused paid time off", according to the outlet.

It's understood the company is in US$250 million worth of debt, with some 1700 employees worldwide, according to Pitchbook. Globally, Jenny Craig has about 600 branches, with around 500 company-owned and franchised outlets in the US and Canada, NBC reported.

A report by Bloomberg last month revealed the business was searching for a buyer and was considering filing for bankruptcy if one couldn't be found.

It's unclear how the company's presence in New Zealand and Australia will be impacted, with franchise-owned venues possibly continuing to operate.

NBC News reported that staff at one California office were notified last week that their workplace would close on June 24, or possibly as soon as this Friday. 

All workers also reportedly received a notice revealing that while the company's physical operations would be winding down, Jenny Craig hoped to evolve into an e-commerce model.

It's speculated the rising use of the antidiabetic medication Ozempic, which causes weight loss, has rocked the industry, while demand for online services has stunted business for in-person weight loss and nutrition platforms. 

Mariah Carey, the late actress Kirstie Alley, Mel B of the Spice Girls and Jason Alexander of Seinfeld are among the many international stars who have represented Jenny Craig, as well as Australian celebrities such as Magda Szubanski.

A Sydney-based employee told that Australian staff are "finding it frustrating that there is no news out there on the Australian side of the business".

As reported by, an internal directive was sent to some Australian staff on Wednesday, which read: "I know conversations are already being had with clients who are coming to our team about the US issues and that these are being dealt with appropriately.

"If a client expresses concern about the situation with Jenny Craig North America, reassure them by saying: 'Those issues relate exclusively to Jenny Craig North America. We're a separate business here in Australia and New Zealand and our continued focus is to provide the highest standard of customer service to our existing clients, like yourself, and future clients'."

In a comment on Facebook, Jenny Craig Oceania confirmed: "As far as Jenny Craig Oceania is concerned we are operating as normal. We are a separate business entity compared to North America."