Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BFT expands in Asia and Europe as gyms face economic workout

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A BFT gym in action. Source: Supplied

Australian-born gym franchise Body Fit Training (BFT) has announced new expansions into Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Spain, making customer gains as competitors like F45 adjust to trying market conditions.

The chain opened its first Hong Kong franchise this month and has recently sold its first two franchises in Malaysia, plus an additional two franchises across Madrid and Barcelona.

The additions will complement BFT’s 175 Australian studios, and an additional 75 spread across New Zealand, the US, Canada, England, and Singapore.

“Off the back of the continued success and strong performance of our Singapore studios, there has been a surge in interest across Southeast Asia which has led to sales in Malaysia and Hong Kong,” a company spokesperson told SmartCompany on Tuesday.

“Spain has a strong group training presence/interest so the BFT model has resonated with potential franchisees over there.”

BFT’s franchise expansion comes in a difficult economic environment for many gym businesses, which are balancing the post-lockdown return to group physical activity against mounting operating costs.

Stationary cycle gym Infinite Cycle went into liquidation in March, resulting in the closure of all but one of its seven studios.

In June, the companies holding the master license agreement for the UFC Gym franchise went into voluntary administration.

A cluster of Australian F45 gym franchisees have also called in the administrators this year.

F45 itself announced its intention to de-list its shares from the New York Stock Exchange this month, two years after its extraordinary 2021 IPO propelled the Sydney-founded company to unicorn status.

BFT itself insists membership numbers are stronger now than they were pre-COVID for its long-established studios.

As economic conditions cloud the sector, the company says it is “solely focused on our own expansion and keeping our studios profitable”.

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