WeWork reports membership growth, best sales since 2019

The coworking firm’s occupancy rate is ticking up as office tenants aim for flexibility

WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (WeWork, iStock)
WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (WeWork, iStock)

As businesses seek greater flexibility in a post-pandemic world, WeWork’s offerings could be regaining popularity.

The co-working giant is seeing its best net desk sales in nearly two years, Bloomberg reported Monday, following a tumultuous 2020 in which it reeled from a failed IPO attempt compounded by plummeting memberships during the pandemic.

The company’s office occupancy rate recovered to 53 percent at the end of May, up from 47 percent late last year, though still well below its pre-pandemic norm of 70 to 80 percent.

Its membership figures have followed a similar pattern: WeWork reported 693,000 memberships in March 2020, but the figure dropped to 490,000 a year later. As of May, it had recovered to 505,000.

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The recent rebound came after the co-working company shedded thousands of employees to cut costs last year. Co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann was ousted at the end of 2019, and new CEO Sandeep Mathrani took over in early 2020.

Since then, in an effort to return the company to profitability, new management has conducted multiple rounds of layoffs and aggressively slimmed down its portfolio by shedding office space all over the world. Bloomberg added Monday that the company vacated a further 17 buildings in April and May. Despite these moves, WeWork recorded $2.1 billion in losses in the first quarter of 2021.

An upward swing would be welcome news for WeWork, which will attempt to go public again in the third quarter by merging with a special purpose acquisition company BowX Acquisition Corp.

[Bloomberg News] — Akiko Matsuda

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