Health and fitness clubs are viewed as ideal tenants by landlords

This is illustrated by the success of AnyTime Fitness who demonstrated their business mettle by thriving during the recent pandemic.

Health and fitness clubs are viewed as ideal tenants by landlords

One company which has thrived post-pandemic is AnyTime Fitness, who confidently announced recently that they expect to open their 200th club by the end of 2022. According to a report published earlier this year, and titled 2022 State of the UK Fitness Industry, they are the third largest private health club operator in the country.

AnyTime Fitness believes their recent growth is because they were largely unaffected following the Covid crisis, which didn’t go unnoticed among industry stakeholders, particularly those working in the commercial property market.

The health and fitness sector has generally performed well during the past couple of difficult years for businesses. And this was not lost on landlords who realise that health clubs and leisure facilities are reliable long-term tenants which can provide security.

This means those involved in the fitness industry have suddenly been able to access sought-after city centre locations, which previously would not have been obtainable due to high rental values. Ben Dixon, the chief development officer at Anytime Fitness UK, said: “Having worked in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years, we’ve never been in a better place regarding the property market.

“It’s fair to say that we’ve often been an afterthought when it comes to property. However, we’re now in a position to open health clubs in properties that were previously beyond our wildest dreams and we’re well placed to take advantage of that.”

Anytime Fitness grew their network by an additional 14 clubs during 2020 and 2021. The pandemic had little impact on business, with those clubs which opened in 2020 enjoying an average membership count of 733 – within 30 days of starting to trade. This was on a par with their 2019 statistics.

The Hertfordshire-based franchise opened two more clubs in May of this year – at Maidenhead in Berkshire and Maynooth in the Republic of Ireland. Both outlets have already surpassed 1,000 members.

With headquarters at Croxley Business Park, Hatters Lane, Watford; AnyTime Fitness received the Business Resilience Award at the prestigious British Franchise Association (BFA) Awards in 2021.

The BFA commended the company for its dedication to supporting franchisees during the pandemic, and which enabled AnyTime Fitness to post their best-ever monthly new membership sales figures in April 2021.

This recent opening in Maidenhead is the business venture of husband-and-wife team, Opinder and Shallu Kaushal. They already ran a successful business, although the day-to-day pressures suffered by Opinder had taken a heavy toll on his physical health and mental wellbeing.

Therefore, he joined a local Anytime Fitness club, losing 30kg in the process. And now he owns one in the Thames Valley, together with his wife. As two of the newest recruits to the fitness industry, Opinder and Shallu’s club forms part of a major regeneration project in the town.

Opinder said: “I’m pleased to say we had an amazing start and I couldn’t be happier with the membership numbers. We have also created a great club environment. I’ve learnt a lot and my confidence is sky high.” Since the start of the 21st century, UK gym membership has consistently increased year-on-year, as health and wellbeing becomes a significant part of people’s lives.

It is well documented that recent changes in working circumstances have led many people to re-evaluate their work/life balance. The 2021 Global Fitness Report found that 80% of consumers are now taking health and fitness seriously, with 75% of this group taking part in specific gym-based activities.

Andy Swales
Andy Swales