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Self Esteem Brands (Anytime Fitness) is aiming to grow to 10,000 locations globally in the next five years, says co-founder, Dave Mortensen

Self Esteem Brands is looking for further expansion and has set itself a target of reaching 10,000 units globally
Self Esteem Brands is the parent company of Anytime Fitness, Basecamp Fitness/SUMHIIT Fitness, Waxing The City and The Bar Method
Co-founder Dave Mortensen said the group wants to hit the landmark in the next five years
Mortensen was speaking exclusively to HCM
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University of Brighton
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Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Self Esteem Brands (SEB) – the company behind a raft of wellness brands, including Anytime Fitness – says the company is driving to reach 10,000 units globally in the next five years, which would make it the biggest wellness franchise business in the world.

The company currently has around 5,500 locations on seven continents

Speaking exclusively to HCM, Mortensen said the group – which also owns Basecamp Fitness/SUMHIIT Fitness, Waxing The City and The Bar Method – will take a targeted, but ambitious, approach to growth.

"Within the next five years, we want to get to 10,000 units globally," Mortensen said in an interview published in the new edition of HCM. (Read free on desktop here, and on mobile here).

"Some of this will happen organically through the brands we already have, the rest through acquisition," he continued.

"I imagine it will be an 80/20 split, with about 80 per cent of our growth coming from our current brands and about 20 per cent from new acquisitions we bring on-board," said Mortensen.

He told HCM that SEB will target larger operators when considering acquisitions to drive growth more quickly, saying: "We’ll look for a bit more scale before we acquire. Some of the brands we have now came in at a smaller scale. Moving forward, I think we’ll be looking for franchise brands to already have 100+ units before we bring them into Self Esteem Brands.

"Would we ever take on a business that wasn’t already a franchise? Never say never, but most likely we’d want it to already be a franchise," he said.

"Longer-term, we’ve set out a goal to impact 100 million people around the world; I’d estimate that we’ve impacted around 20 million so far.

"This isn’t just about current members. It’s about all the people who have, at some point, engaged with us, been active with us, felt we’ve made a difference to their lives."

Mortensen said that while Anytime Fitness will be at the forefront of the group's expansion plans, it plans to grow all of its brands.

"In Anytime Fitness we have the largest, most global health club brand in the world," Mortensen added.

"It is still the foundation of Self Esteem Brands, and probably the greatest thing we’re seeing right now is double-digit growth of Anytime Fitness across the globe.

"But new walls are rising every day. Waxing The City is going absolutely gangbusters right now: it’s breaking records this year.

"Our studio brands are also doing well: they took probably the biggest hit during the early day of COVID, but they’re returning to 2019 numbers.

"So we’re seeing positive growth in every one of our brands. In fact, our average unit volumes are better than ever and we’re well north of 2019 numbers across the board, with double-digit growth for Waxing The City for the last five years and double-digit growth – based on year over year sales – for our studio brands too."

He also revealed the background to the group's decision to take Anytime Fitness to France for the first time.

"France is a market we’ve wanted to be in for a very long time; we’re often asked why we’re not there yet, as we’re strong elsewhere in Europe," Mortensen said.

"I think France can easily hold 350+ Anytime Fitness clubs and our new partner, Anytime France sàrl, is already targeting seven regions, including: Paris, Ile-de-France, Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes and the Côte d’Azur."

In the interview, Mortensen also reveals Self Esteem Brands' global expansion plans and tech investments. To read more, click here.

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Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Self Esteem Brands (SEB) – the company behind a raft of wellness brands, including Anytime Fitness – says the company is driving to reach 10,000 units globally in the next five years, which would make it the biggest wellness franchiser in the world.

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