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Health clubs suffer drop in membership

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Health and fitness clubs in the UK have lost more than 53,000 members this year as customers have opted not to renew their memberships, according to a recent survey.

The HealthClubBenchmark survey by accountancy and consultancy firm Deloitte said that rising interest rates and falling consumer confidence are factors in the decline.

Adrian Balcombe, leisure partner at Deloitte, said: “Despite government initiatives to promote exercise we have seen a decrease in the number of people paying for health club membership. With conditions becoming tougher in the UK domestic economy. Many consumers are opting to cut their discretionary spending.

“With total operating costs for health clubs on the rise, profit margins for the industry are under pressure. To succeed in the current economic conditions, health clubs and leisure centres need more variable pricing structures and to retain members through improved service and a more enjoyable exercise experience.”

The research also revealed that the number of people joining health clubs has fallen by 8 per cent for January to June against the same period last year, despite a 17 per cent decrease in joining fees.

The survey showed that all of the UK was affected, with no region improving on last year’s performance. Inner London was the most resistant to economic pressure, whereas clubs in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands were hardest hit. Details: www.deloitte.co.uk

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Health and fitness clubs in the UK have lost more than 53,000 members this year as customers have opted not to renew their memberships, according to a recent survey.
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