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‘We are going to begin our expansion,’ says The Gym Group CEO

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The Gym Group’s boss said the budget fitness giant is poised to rebuild membership numbers and expand post-lockdown – taking advantage of newly vacated spaces available after the pandemic hit to retailers – as the group reported a £47.2 million loss.

The chain, which has 184 gyms around the UK, released full year results showing it sunk to a statutory pre-tax loss of £47.2 million in 2020, down from a £6.2 million profit in 2019. Total annual revenues plunged by nearly half to £80.5 million.

The company highlighted its £100 million bank facility, and chief executive Richard Darwin, who has led the group since 2018, said the results were “no great surprise”, as its sites were open for just 55% of the year’s trading days.

The Gym Group retained a core membership base of 547,000 members by end February, and plans to reopen in England on April 12.

“What that level of membership shows is that when we do reopen we will be able to at least cash flow break even, and then we can begin the recovery,” he said. “Because our debt levels are relatively low, we are going to begin our expansion.

“We are seeing a very good property market for us to take advantage of – quite a number of these sites are on retail parks, where we are seeing really good levels of availability of property. These are very good sites for us in terms of locating a gym, because you get parking, you get felixibility and great signage, and as a result of that we plan to take advantage of what is clearly a difficult market for retailers.”

The company plans to open three new gyms in April and one in May, and begin construction another four gyms – including London sites in Sydenham and at Staples Corner.

Shares rose by 3.3% in early trading.

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