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Surging membership numbers boost Pure Gym figures

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Increased membership numbers helped Pure Gym record strong financial results in 2016, with further rises expected as the operator plans to open up to 25 new sites this year.

Last year, membership numbers grew by 23 per cent to 822,000, from 670,000 in 2015. A third of the 152,000 increase were people who had no previous gym membership. This growth has continued into 2017, with the operator having more than 930,000 members.

Revenues rose by 28 per cent to £159.9m ($198.5, €184.9m) last year, from £125.2m (US$155.4m, €144.8m) in 2015. The group's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased to £39.5m (US$49m, €45.7m) in 2016, from £28m (US$34.8m, €32.4m) the year previous, representing a 41 per cent growth.

However, the organisation declined to disclose its profit figures.

In 2016, 38 new or converted gyms opened, including 18 LA Fitness conversions, taking the year-end total to 170 Pure Gyms.

The company said its sites are increasingly popular in retail parks and shopping centres, with both owners and retail outlets benefitting from increased footfall as gym users come and go during the week.

Commenting on the results, Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive, said: “Thanks to the hard work of our exceptional colleagues across the country, Pure Gym consolidated its leadership position in 2016 and we now have an enviable spread of sites across the UK, including 40 in the London area. Almost a million people currently enjoy our affordable and flexible offer, and we’ve introduced a variety of different membership options to suit a wide range of personal circumstances.

“No operator in the history of the gym and fitness sector in the UK has ever achieved this scale of membership and we are passionately pursuing our vision of making great fitness opportunities and facilities available for everybody in the country. For 2017, expansion remains our priority with four new gyms open already and plans for 20 to 25 openings this year in total.”

The operator has invested in technology to improve its member experience and run more efficiently. It has also run national television advertising campaigns featuring brand ambassador Sir Chris Hoy – the six-time Olympic Champion – which has helped boost membership numbers.

On the outlook for 2017, Cobbold said: “Pure Gym’s impressive expansion continues and the scope for further growth is considerable. Half of our sites are under two years old and so they offer significant further growth potential. We therefore expect 2017 to be another year of healthy progression for all the key performance indicators – volume, yield, revenue, profits and cashflow.

“The structural trends underpinning our growth are intensifying: technology continues to disrupt established sectors and in the gym market consumers are increasingly health aware but want the ability to be active when it suits them at an affordable price.”

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Increased membership numbers helped Pure Gym record strong financial results in 2016, with further rises expected as the operator plans to open up to 25 new sites this year.
Humphrey Cobbold expects


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