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MEET ME AT THE BAR A REVIEW OF THE UK HEALTH AND FITNESS MARKET


Having previously only sought units greater than 15,000 sq ft, PureGym is targeting significant growth of their small box “PureGym Local” format (6-9,000 sq ft) following the successful opening of six sites. The Gym Group is also looking to launch a smaller footprint later this year. There are also a number of well-funded challenger groups emerging in the mainstream branded sector, including Xcersize4Less, JD Gyms (a gym spinoff by sports-fashion retailer JD Sports), and easyJet offshoot, easyGym.


FAMILY AND PREMIUM CONCEPTS


Premium family gyms, such as David Lloyd Leisure, are highly popular in regional markets, offering “something for all the family” and typically situated in drive-to locations. After a period of market activity dominated by the low cost sectors, the family and premium club markets look set for evolution.


Bannatyne has invested heavily in its core estate, while also building additional space for spa facilities where possible. It has also acquired and rebranded a number of large, privately owned clubs across the UK.


Virgin Active, which divested its neighbourhood estate to Nuffield in order to concentrate on central London and other metropolitan locations, is converting traditional gym floor space into immersive group exercise studios. Spanish family lifestyle club, GoFit, is looking to expand into the UK market, whilst HealthTrack, which is redefining the family concept, is securing funding for expansion. Considering that the space requirement for family and premium concepts is usually in excess of 50,000 sq ft, and freeholds and long leaseholds are strongly preferred, it is unlikely that we’ll see the same explosion of growth that has been witnessed in the low cost and London studio gym markets.


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