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17 Aug 2022 World leisure: news, training & property
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04 Aug 2022

Gym Group bullish about prospects – on track for £45m EBITDA in 2022
BY Tom Walker

The group has a target of reaching 300 gyms by the end of 2025

The group has a target of reaching 300 gyms by the end of 2025
photo: The Gym Group

The Gym Group saw its membership grow by 10 per cent during the first six months of 2022 to 790,000, with revenues jumping to £84.2m – a 187 per cent increase on the first half of the COVID-19-affected 2021, giving an EBITDA of £17m.

Analysts are predicting a full-year EBITDA of around £45m.

The low-cost operator, which currently has 215 clubs, said it was making "excellent progress" with its recently announced growth strategy.

The group has a target of reaching 300 gyms by the end of 2025, along with an EBITDA between £95-£105m.

It has opened 11 gyms since December 2021, including a 21,000sq ft location in Paddington Basin, London and is on track to launch 28 new sites in total by the end of this year.

Leases for all sites opening in H2 have been exchanged.

Only one site has closed, with the company exercising a break in its lease on a gym at Northend Stadium, Preston, UK, due to access being challenging on match days.

The company now has a range of size models from 7,000sq ft to 21,000sq ft that it can implement depending on catchment.

CEO Richard Darwin told HCM that memberships are now at 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels when calculated on a like-for-like estate basis and that the company has reduced the number of members it allows at certain sites to improve the member experience as part of implementing competitive price increases.

The move – which is based on offering the most 'exceptional value' in the market – has seen the gap between The Gym Group's average prices and those of the competition narrow from £4/month to between £2.70 and £3.30, with the average price remaining under £21/month.

Darwin said trading has been buoyant, with Monday 5 June was the company's highest-ever acquisition day.

He said the company is buffered against energy price increases, with the whole of 2022 hedged and 70 per cent of 2023 covered, making it "very well positioned to withstand whatever the economy throws at it". The cost of living crisis is not expected to have an impact, given the value-for-money proposition and consumers' commitment to their health and fitness.

He said the company expects to have an exceptionally strong H3, given how many gym locations are near universities and colleges, where students are now returning to face-to-face lectures.

The positive results come ahead of a new brand identity being launched later this month (August 2022), which will see the rebranding of The Gym Group's estate and website, while a new tech platform has also launched.

“We're pleased with our financial and operational performance during the first half of 2022, demonstrating the resilience of our business," Darwin said.

"People across the country rely on our gyms for their physical and mental health, and demand for our affordable fitness experience is recovering well.

"As we expand, we welcome more members in communities across the UK, and we are making further progress with our ambitious growth plan.

"Our new technology platform, combined with our brand relaunch later this month, positions us well to capture the demand for affordable fitness and take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity for growth,” he said.

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