Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Gym Group exploring ‘Europe and beyond’ for expansion | spabusiness.com news

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The Gym Group is “positively exploring” foreign markets and engaging in discussions with a number of parties as it bids to banish the ghost of its failed merger with Pure Gym by way of an overseas expansion.

The Gym Group CEO John Treharne told Health Club Management the gym chain is exploring a number of markets “in Europe and beyond” with a view to sealing deals sooner rather than later.

“It’s tough to say whether it would be in the first six months or the next, but certainly we’d be disappointed if things hadn’t progressed one year from now,” said Treharne.

“We’re reviewing and researching all markets and not ruling out any options at this stage. We could enter a market on our own or we could go in on a joint venture – all possibilities are open at this stage.”

The chain – jointly controlled by Phoenix Equity Partners and Bridges Ventures – is in a strong position for expansion, having secured £50m (US$83m, €62m) of venture capital from the two firms last year.

On the home front, Treharne doesn’t expect the UK economic recovery to have an impact on the low cost gym sector, citing industry analyst Ray Algar’s view that the budget concept is here to stay, as can be evidenced by the continued success of low cost airlines and hotels.

“We’re eager to press ahead with our UK expansion and will look at incorporating market trends like HIIT – most likely in our larger clubs – but still maintaining our low cost concept,” said Treharne, who added the chain is also looking at virtual group exercise concepts like Les Mills’ The Project.

“The plan is to continue rolling out 20-25 gyms per year and at some point in 2016 we’d like to be approaching the 100-club mark in the UK – regardless of any opportunities we pursue overseas.”

Background:

• In June the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) took the decision to refer the proposed merger of The Gym Group and Pure Gym to an in-depth investigation – a move which prompted the low cost operators to scrap the deal.

• The decision was based on a “narrow definition of the market,” according to health and fitness industry analyst Ray Algar.

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