Fitness First’s Andrew Cosslett: We’ve turned a corner
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Fitness First’s Andrew Cosslett: We’ve turned a corner

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Fitness First CEO Andrew Cosslett believes the gym chain has put its darkest days behind it, pointing to improving financial figures released today (11 May) as a three-year transformation programme begins to make headway.

Despite group earnings falling 0.3 per cent to £509.3m for the year ending 31 October 2014, revenue increased across the chain’s rebranded clubs (122 out of 377) and the UK arm returned to EBITDA growth for the first time in five years. There was also reason for cheer in Asia, as Fitness First clubs there enjoyed a 10.5 per cent jump in like-for-like EBITDA.

“We’ve worked hard to stabilise the business and create a platform for growth going forward,” said Cosslett.

“We reached the turning point during the latter part of 2014 as the impact of better results from a growing number of rebranded clubs started to be felt.”

Having come close to collapse before its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in 2012, the chain is now on course to complete its £270m (US$408m, €346m) transformation programme by the end of 2015 – one year ahead of schedule.

The rebrand has been rooted in motivational science, looking at what encourages members to enjoy exercise and stay longer. This has entailed a comprehensive staff training programme, a retune of the gym space resulting in fewer machines and more interactive spaces, as well as what Cosslett describes as a “sense of arrival.”

“As we make the turn, you are seeing a very different business emerge. One that offers a more welcoming experience, expert staff and digital technology to ensure our members always get the most out of their fitness time and stay on track,” added Cosslett.

“We aim to complete the club refurbishments during 2015, accompanied by an exciting digital launch which will complete the re-positioning of the business and set it up for growth in 2016 and beyond.”

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Fitness First CEO Andrew Cosslett believes the gym chain has put its darkest days behind it, pointing to improving financial figures released today (11 May) as a three-year transformation programme begins to make headway.

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