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Fitness First moves into MENA

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UK-based health club chain, Fitness First – which operates around 400 clubs throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East – has signed a franchise deal to move into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The move is the first franchise deal for Fitness First anywhere in the world and has been agreed with Leisure Unlimited, a joint venture between Dubai-based leisure company Global Brands and Saudi Arabian retailer Al Hokair.

The first health club is set to open in Dubai in March 2005 with further sites in Dubai and Saudi Arabia expected to open shortly afterwards.

The partnership aims to have 20 Fitness First clubs in operation within the next three years, all of which will be identical to Fitness First’s sites in the UK and Europe.

Mike Balfour, founder and deputy chair of Fitness First, said: “This is the start of a new and exciting initiative for us and we will now give serious consideration to franchising Fitness First clubs in other parts of the world where we currently do not have operations.”

Mike Lamb, group managing director for Fitness First in Asia, will oversee and manage the MENA franchise agreement process.

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UK-based health club chain, Fitness First – which operates around 400 clubs throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East – has signed a franchise deal to move into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
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