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23 Apr 2024

PureGym's new results set it up for accelerating growth
BY Kath Hudson

Further expansion is on the cards for PureGym

Further expansion is on the cards for PureGym
photo: PureGym/Paul Calver

PureGym saw revenues rise by 15 per cent in 2023, with the company announcing plans to develop 200 new clubs in the next three to four years.

Memberships were up 11 per cent across the group and by 16 per cent in the UK compared with 2022, with more than 100 million visits during the year and more than two million members at January 2024.

Revenue increased by 15 per cent to £549m (2022: £476m), driven by the opening of new gyms, growth in membership at existing gyms and an improvement in average revenue per member.

Revenue growth, coupled with cost control, delivered an increase in adjusted EBITDA up 39 per cent to £132m (2022: £95m). Operating profit was £86.8m, compared to £4.6m in 2022 and total capital expenditure during the year was £99.2m.

Following a successful refinancing deal in the fourth quarter of 2023, PureGym is in a robust financial position for its rollout plan, with £140m of cash on the balance sheet and £315m of available liquidity at the year end.

The affordable gym operator has plans to open 60-70 new sites in 2024, including 15-20 in the Middle East. There are plans for around 200 new sites within the next three or four years.

CEO, Humphrey Cobbold, says the business has shown resilience and progression in a challenging macroeconomic environment. Going forward, the focus will continue to be on revenue, yield and price management, focusing on limiting inflationary impacts. The cost base is well under control, including utility contracts fixed into next year.

Openings and closures
In 2023, 43 gyms were opened which are performing at least in line with, or ahead of, expectations. “This validates our strategy of continuing to deploy capital in a measured and controlled way to open new sites in quality locations,” says Cobbold.

A further 11 franchised sites opened in the Middle East, bringing the estate’s total to 601 globally.

“With our franchise concept now firmly proven, we are actively exploring additional partnership opportunities to take our affordable, accessible gym proposition to other territories,” says Cobbold.

As estate optimisation and consolidation continues, eight gyms were closed, primarily in Denmark, where a successful rebrand has now been completed from Fitness World to PureGym.

All sites are providing at least 37 per cent return on capital investment and are continuing to improve.

Developments in ESG
Although the 2024 Deloitte and EuropeActive report showed that people are more concerned about price and convenience when choosing a club, Cobbold says there is some evidence that the palpable impact of climate change in 2023, and the increased consumer awareness about societal trends and sustainability-related issues, is driving consumer demand towards companies that are paying more attention to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

To this end, PureGym has identified five key focus areas for its ESG strategy:
1. Delivering social good to support people live healthier lives.
2. Empowering people: both the team and the community to achieve their potential.
3. Energy and emissions: using resources efficiently to reduce the carbon footprint.
4. Waste and circularity: embedding circular-by-design principles and minimising operational waste.
5. Effective corporate governance: building an environment of trust, transparency and accountability for sustainable performance.

The impact of its 2022 Energy and Emissions strategy has seen a 20 per cent reduction in carbon intensity per member visit on a group basis. Science-based targets will be set by 2026.

In its partnership with the British Heart Foundation, PureGym provided CPR training for all operational staff and developed the Healthy Hearts Programme, which provides participants with free access to an eight-week online health programme and raised more than £1m for heart research.



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