Gym Group building pipeline of new openings for 2021 – membership demand remains 'strong' despite lockdowns
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Gym Group building pipeline of new openings for 2021 – membership demand remains 'strong' despite lockdowns

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The business has traded profitably during the period and we are confident that our strong financial position will provide the platform to resume our growth path once we reopen

The Gym Group will look to further grow its 183-strong portfolio across England, Scotland and Wales during 2021, as the demand for gym memberships has remained strong, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

In a trading update, the budget operator said it "continues to see an opportunity to access attractive potential new sites" and is building a pipeline for new openings in 2021.

It has already had leases exchanged on four sites, with "several more under negotiation".

The company revealed that when it reopened its estate on 25 July 2020, it had 658,000 members. 574,000 of these were ongoing paying members – and the figure excludes members who had opted to freeze their membership without charge and students whose fixed term contracts had been extended to October/November 2020 due to the initial lockdown.

Following the reopening, the group saw membership grow up until the second half of September, when the emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 meant member levels started to decline with total membership on 31 October 2020 of 639,000.

Despite this, the number of paying members for the three-month period ongoing is up by 2.4 per cent (at 588,000), compared to the July re-opening level (574,000).

“In the three months since reopening The Gym Group has seen good levels of membership demand reinforcing the beneficial role that affordable fitness makes to physical and mental well-being," said Richard Darwin, The Gym Group CEO.

"Covid-secure measures are working very well across the sector enabling gyms to remain open even with regional Tier 3 restrictions, encouraging us that we should be able reopen quickly once the national lockdown is over.

"The business has traded profitably during the period and we are confident that our strong financial position, with very low levels of net debt and close to £70m of unused facilities, will provide the platform to resume our growth path once we reopen.”

In September, text here Darwin said the company has a cashflow break-even of 520k members on the current estate of 183 clubs.

Revealing the impact of the lockdown on its membership numbers for the first time, he said TGG went into lockdown with 891,000 members (at 29 February), and that this fell to 658,000 by 25 July, with a further 60,000 taking the option of a membership freeze.

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Gym Group will look to further grow its 183-strong portfolio across England, Scotland and Wales during 2021, as the demand for gym memberships has remained strong, despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.
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