Finance

The Gym Group plans new sites and cheers “favourable” property market


T

he property market is the most “favourable” The Gym Group has seen since it started more than a decade ago, the chain said as it outlined plans to open 40 more branches.

The budget fitness chain announced the target as it showed how Covid-19 lockdowns hammered trading in the six months to June, with revenue 21.4% lower at £29.3 million.

It recorded a pre-tax loss of £28.5 million, similar to the same period a year earlier.

But the company has seen a “strong recovery” in membership numbers since the gym sector was able to reopen from the most recent lockdown in England in April.

The Gym Group wants to boost its estate size to nearly 230 sites by the end of 2022. Centres due to launch in the capital this year include on Caledonian Road and at Staples Corner retail park.

Chief executive Richard Darwin told the Evening Standard that the company has seen some examples of lower rents “for very attractive locations”.

The Gym Group said: “The current property market is the most favourable we have seen in the 12 years that this business has been in existence. As a result of a large number of retailers focusing on their online operations and other retailers going through CVAs, we are being offered high quality sites, particularly on retail parks, at commercial rents that work well within our business model.”

As at June the firm had 730,000 members, up from 547,000 at the end of February, but below the 794,000 recorded pre-Covid in December 2019.

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