The launch of a smaller format for Fitness Hut in the next few weeks is anticipated to at least double its potential to 100 gyms around Portugal.
After some trials in the last year, the leading Portuguese smart cost operator is preparing to open a gym of about 1,000 square meters in São Domingos de Rana, not far from its head office in Oeiras, compared with the concept's standard surface of 1,500 square meters.
This is the start of a major project for Fitness Hut, since the smaller format has been adopted for eight out of the twelve openings it has planned in the next nine months. The operator already runs 33 gyms with about 130,000 members, at prices starting from €6.50 per week.
“We can fill in those white spaces whilst controlling cannibalisation we could get if we put bigger ones in, and it also lets us get into smaller population towns,” said Nick Coutts, the company’s chief executive and one of its founders, in Lisbon last month. With that, he estimates that about half of the Portuguese group could consist of smaller format clubs.
The cost of opening the smaller gyms is proportionally lower, reduced from about €1.5 million to €1 million, but the targeted return on investment is the same, amounting to at least 30%.
This Portuguese expansion comes nearly one year after Fitness Hut was acquired by Viva Gym and integrated into the Viva Group, with a target to have more than 90 locations across Iberia by the end of 2020.
The smaller format replicates the concept that has turned Fitness Hut into the Portuguese market leader, with a mix of cardio and functional training equipment, as well as group exercise. However, it has made some adjustments for group training, including a high intensity training box that Fitness Hut has started installing in October.
Read the full story in FNE#68.
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