Peter Wright, the chief executive

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1 Activ Fitness shapes up with Silhouette The Migros group is reinforcing its leadership in the Swiss fitness market with an agreement to take over twenty Silhouette and two upmarket Pure gyms, mostly in the French-speaking part of the country. Taking part in the Swiss market s consolidation, the Silhouette Wellness group is to be formally acquired by Activ Fitness. The two entities will jointly form a group of 63 fitness clubs with nearly 100,000 members in all three of Switzerland s language areas, making it easily the largest operator in the country in club numbers. The group s expansion in the French-speaking part of Switzerland was our priority and this acquisition helps us to get adequate coverage in the area, particularly in Geneva, said Hans Peter Meier, chief executive of Activ Fitness. The concept already had 41 clubs in Switzerland but it only moved into Geneva last year and opened its second club in the city earlier this year. Half of the current Silhouette gyms and both of the Pure clubs are in Geneva. With 75,000 members, Activ Fitness clubs are part of Migros Zurich, the entity in the Migros cooperative that has the strongest interest in the fitness industry. It was Migros Zurich Photo: Silhouette that fully purchased Injoy/Inline in Germany last year, and it runs five Elements clubs in the same country. Silhouette is among the largest players in the Swiss market after the Migros group and Let s Go in number of clubs. Sales are estimated at about 40 DW Group gets CEO, Seibold leaves Martin Long, former chief executive of LA Fitness, has been appointed in the same function at DW Group, to supervise both its retail and fitness activities. Long has been involved with the company since he advised on DW s acquisition of Fitness First clubs in the U.K. last year, turning it into the operator with the second-largest number of clubs in the country. It operates 90 sports retail outlets along with 78 DW gyms and 48 Fitness First clubs. DW Group explained in a Continued on page 5... statement that Long would work with Scott Best as head of fitness and Matthew Sharpe as head of retailing. Long s appointment in the new position of group chief executive is meant to reinforce the DW Group, which has built up an expanded senior management team as well. Upon the acquisition of Fitness First UK it was agreed that Martin Seibold, the group s chief executive, would remain on board to drive that part of the DW business. But it turned out last week that Seibold is preparing to support Fitness May 27, 2017 Issue N 31 MACFit CEO change Peter Wright, the chief executive who has driven the rise of MACFit budget gyms in Turkey for more than four years, will be changing roles this month to become a board director at Mars Sportif. Mars Sportif, which operates the MAC and MACFit brands, said the move is part of a longer-term strategy of succession planning to ensure the presence of local management at the executive level of the business as Actera Group, the group s private equity owner, is preparing for an exit. Actera is the leading private equity firm in Turkey. Previously chief operating officer at Virgin Active in South Africa and CEO of Body Masters, Wright launched the low-cost concept in Turkey when participation was below 2% and the market driven by traditional and upmarket clubs. MACFit spread from 6 clubs in 2013 to 58 this month, making it by far the largest Turkish market player, and another 17 are due to open in More on this latest news in upcoming issues of FNE. First Germany, which he expanded before his switch to the U.K. The German company, which reaped flat sales of 145 million ( 169m) with 83 gyms last year, said Seibold s precise remit had yet to be decided. The potential move comes after the resignation of Stefan Tilk as chief executive of Fitness First Germany, as reported in our previous issue. The group then said that the function would be taken over by Oren Peleg, chief executive of the Fitness First Group or what is left of it after spin-offs Continued on page 6... FNE#31 You re reading Fitness News Europe, the independent business news publication for executives in the international fitness industry. With an online portal and a bi-monthly newsletter, Fitness News Europe provides reliable business news and often exclusive analysis on the fast-moving fitness market. Check out fitnessnewseurope. com for further information about the publication, to register for a free trial and obtain your subscription. CONTENTS Activ Fitness snaps up Silhouette...p1-6 MacFit CEO change... p1 DW Group appoints chief executive...p1-5 Johnson Health Tech managers on the move...p2 Nano fuels Reebok...p2 Body Bike rides along with Matrix...p3 Clever Fit goes Swiss... p4 Basic-Fit spreads French clusters... p4 Public sector dip in growing U.K. market...p6 Italian clubs form independent group...p7 Other news Fitbit (p3), Jatomi Fitness (p5), Life Fitness (p3), Metropolitan (p5), Nr1Fitness (p5), Technogym (p3), UK Active (p7), Virke Trening (p7) Fitness News Europe is published by Zelus (France) Editor: Barbara All rights reserved. The information published in this newsletter cannot be copied or distributed electronically without the publisher s written permission. FITNESS NEWS Europe 1

2 2 FITNESS NEWS Europe Top Gear Johnson Health Tech managers on the move Johnson Health Tech (JHT) is undergoing management changes in its European organisation, with the departure of several prominent executives for the Taiwanese owner of the Matrix brand. Robert Lake, regional director for central and northern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), is preparing to move to Octane Fitness International, where he should be in charge of direct key accounts. This is a significant investment for Octane, reinforcing its existing international structure near Rotterdam. Leo Schreuders remains managing director of Octane Fitness International, with Mark Lowder as vice president of international sales working from Octane s U.S. offices. Lake has been regional director at JHT for five years, based in the Netherlands, after six years at Life Fitness, as sales manager in charge of the group s distributor business in EMEA. The switch has yet to be formally announced by JHT and Octane, but it was said that Lake will be joining Octane in June. Lake s replacement is as yet unknown but it may well lead to a wider reshuffle, with more clearly defined regional functions for North America, Asia and Europe. As previously reported, Mark Zabel was appointed earlier this year to take the leadership of the group s U.S. commercial division, and John Young has agreed to lead JHT s commercial division in Asia from April, after many years as vice president of international sales at Cybex International. Daniel Clayton, vice president of global development at JHT, remains at the company but he is preparing to adjust his relationship to JHT. Clayton is to stay with the Taiwanese group as a board director at least until the end of the year and will then work together with Johnson in another guise, which has yet to be clearly defined. Clayton has been with JHT for nine years, several of them spent at the group s head office in Taichung. He joined after eleven years as managing director for Technogym in Asia Pacific and two as group development director for Virgin Active. The only change that has been formally announced as yet is that Jon Johnston, the managing director of Matrix Fitness U.K., will be leaving the company in September, after nearly ten years in charge of the British subsidiary. The group praised him for establishing Matrix as one of the leading equipment providers in the U.K., raising the subsidiary s turnover from less than 3 million in 2007 to more than 40 million ( 46.6m). JHT said the search for a replacement is well advanced. Johnston particularly supported the brand s rise in the affordable fitness market, with customers such a Pure Gym, The Gym Group and Xercise4Less, although the growth more recently expanded to the public sector. Johnston was also described as instrumental in helping Matrix to develop successful partnerships with a raft of high-performance teams and athletes to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity for all. Under his tenure, the Matrix brand has been particularly influential in supporting the development of women s cycle racing. Johnston said in a statement that he would stay involved with the international fitness industry, with several big projects planned for 2018 working with some innovative new brands. Several sources emphasised that the changes were unfolding at the same time by coincidence and that they amounted to somewhat predictable moves by managers who have been accompanying the equipment supplier s international growth for several years. Nano fuels Reebok s European rise The Nano 7 and the athleisure trend fueled an underlying sales increase of 25% for the Reebok brand in Europe in the first three months of this year, marking the continuation of a sustained regional growth spurt. The Nano shaped the category of CrossFit footwear when it was launched in 2011, as part of a partnership between Reebok and the owners of the CrossFit brand. With a combination of cushioning for a run and flat soles for heavy lifting, the Nano remains the standard for Cross- Fit adepts in many countries, but it has been facing growing competition from Nike and its Metcon, among others. The latest iteration of the Nano was thus launched with much ado in January, including a Nano Box Battle held in three Reebok Fithubs in London. Participants were asked to try out the Nano 7 Workout of the Day and represent their own box in the battle. Reebok s quarterly sales jumped by 24% in reported terms to reach 149 million in Western Europe, which actually covers all of the European Union and more. Reebok s underlying sales again dipped by 2% in North America, but the brand s global turnover still advanced by 18.5% to 492 million for the quarter, up by 13.3% in constant currencies. This marks a sharp uptick compared with sluggish sales in the last two years, almost entirely caused by the U.S. Reebok Nano in Shoreditch, London market, while most others performed strongly. The Adidas Group, which owns Reebok, launched a raft of measures under the Muscle Up program last year to get Reebok back on track. Yet the group was quick to warn that some of the rise in the quarter was due to store openings and shifts in product launches. Kasper Rorsted, who decided to shake up Reebok after he became the Adidas group s chief executive last October, said it was far too early to gauge if the uptick of the quarter could be regarded as the start of a turnaround. We still have a long way ahead of us, he said. Separately, another Reebok partner, the organiser of the Spartan Race, is apparently bargaining hard for its naming rights, which were attributed to Reebok five years ago. The agreement will expire later this year and Joe de Sena, founder and chief executive of the Spartan Race, said that the contract allowed the company to search for alternatives. De Sena said that Reebok has been incredible to work with but he has been approached by many others after the Sports Business Daily reported that Reebok wasn t the only option. To say we have been overwhelmed with the global response from potential future partners, is an understatement, said De Sena. Reebok declined to comment. Disclaimer: Content in this publication and on the related website is for your general information and use. It does not constitute the offering of investment advice (either actual or implied) and should not be relied upon in making (or not making) any decision. We use all reasonable endeavors to ensure the accuracy of the content but do not guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of any content whether from a third party or otherwise. Views expressed by third parties are their own.

3 Top Gear Body Bike rides along with Matrix Body Bike is ramping up sales of its smart indoor bikes after the Danish company expanded its strategic partnership with Johnson Health Tech (JHT), the Taiwanese group behind Matrix and other brands. The partnership started after last year s acquisition of the Indoor Cycling Group (ICG) by Brunswick Corporation, the owner of Life Fitness. ICG was JHT s partner for this category. JHT and Body Bike began to work together through an arrangement allowing JHT Iberia to sell the brand in Spain and Portugal. The agreement was expanded through another regional deal sealed at FIBO, under which JHT Hellas distributes the Danish products around Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria. Together with Body Bike, we can offer a solid and honest cycling experience, reliability, functionality and customisation to meet any demand, said George Papageorgiou, managing director of JHT Hellas, in a statement. In several other countries, distribution rights for Body Bike could not be attributed to JHT entities, due to prior partnerships. However, in quite a few cases it was agreed that the relevant subsidiaries of the Taiwanese company should be allowed to buy the Danish bicycles from Body Bike s distribution partners, in order to complement their product offering. This applies in France and Italy, where Planet Sports retains distribution rights for Body Bike and delivers to JHT subsidiaries. The same could be said for Denmark, where Body Bike has a distribution agreement with Fitness Engros. The latest partnership struck along the same lines Fitbit saw its sales slump by more than 40% to $299 million for the first three months of the year, as it continued to clear up inventories. Yet the market leader in fitness trackers said that the underlying demand had been stronger than the reported numbers, and it should move into the second half with a relatively clean channel. The decline mostly came from the U.S. market. Fitbit s sales climbed by 17% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from a base that is no longer so small, reaching $88 million in EMEA in the quarter, against $170 million in the U.S. and $21 million in Asia Pacific. Fitbit sold about three million devices over the quarter, with the launch of the Fitbit Alta HR. The group launched cutbacks last year and is preparing to come up with a smartwatch offering and an employee wellness business. covers Sweden and Norway, where Concept Sweden and Concept Norway have agreed to deliver to Matrix. Body Bike has another prior relationship with Les Mills International, which is not entirely unrelated to its ownership. The manufacturer belongs to the HDD Group from the Netherlands, which is Body Bike s distributor and the partner for Les Mills in the Benelux countries, among other activities. Planet Fitness is also the regional partner for Les Mills. Photo: Body Bike After an adjustment at the start of this year, Body Bike is no longer the exclusive preferred bike of Les Mills. However, Body Bike remains a recommended supplier of indoor bikes for the group class specialist and it will continue to deliver bicycles for many Les Mills events. The reduced scope of Body Bike s partnership with Les Mills was apparently compensated handsomely by the new deal with JHT, as the Danish company says that demand has been far above expectations so far this year. HDD Group remains the exclusive distributor for Body Bike in Germany, where JHT is selling indoor bikes from Keiser Fitness. Gear Briefs Life Fitness has teamed up with We Fitter to launch a fitness gamification platform across Spain. The gist of the partnership is to enable fitness-related competitions between club members and between clubs around the country, to make it more engaging for the users to work out at their club. In order to take part, they have to download the WeFitter app and connect various compatible apps and wearables, and to join the WeFitter group in their club. The integration with LF Connect will enable them to sync the results of their training with Life Fitness equipment, and to tally up the number of calories burned, the distance covered and so forth. Anytime Fitness, which has 32 clubs in Spain, was the first chain in the country to take advantage of the platform and organise its Anytime Fitness Challenge. In the U.K., JHT has decided to team up with Stages to complement its offering with indoor bikes. The Taiwanese group said earlier this year that it intended to launch its own indoor bicycle later this year. Uffe Olesen, Body Bike s chief executive, says that it sells an average of about 12,000 bicycles per year and demand has already increased in the last year due to the launch of the Body Bike Smart. It works together with an app that enables indoor cyclists to use their mobile phone as a console, which means they can directly access their workout data, he explains. They may also charge their phone while they re pedaling. Olesen adds that the group s own production in Frederikshavn, in the northern tip of Denmark, just across from Gothenburg in Sweden, enables customised and flexible deliveries. The brand stands out with a variety of bright colors and many of its products are branded for the customers. Body Bike also raised demand from small customers two years ago when it decided to ditch minimum orders of five bikes and started offering delivery of single-packed products. Body Bike gained further exposure by working on indoor cycling with virtual reality. The company started exploring this technology last year, but at FIBO this year it brought along a much improved version. Graphics have been upgraded and the program includes assignments that make the ride more playful. The frame and handlebar have been adjusted to make the ride stable, but Olesen acknowledges that the product won t be suitable for intense use in gyms until manufacturers come up with adequate goggles. Technogym has obtained retail space at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York as part of The Wellery, a concept shop with products and services focusing on health and fitness, which will be open until October. The Technogym space features some of the Italian brand s latest fitness gear, such as the Personal Line, the Artis range and the Skillmill, as well as the Skillrow rower and Mycycling. The Wellery covers about 1,500 square meters with a dozen brands specialised in health, fitness and athleisure. Earlier this year Technogym invested in own retailing through the opening of a spectacular flagship store on three levels in Milan, while another was opened in Vienna a few weeks ago. The group has suggested that it was searching for a location in London and intended to open more of such stores in inspiring cities. FITNESS NEWS Europe 3

4 Already the leading fitness franchise with more than 300 clubs in Germany, Clever Fit has partnered with a Swiss company to establish at least twenty franchises in that country in the next five years. As reported by the Handelszeitung, Clever Fit has attributed the territory to two German club owners in Baden-Württemberg, and Manser-Immobilien from Arbon, on the Lake of Constance. The two parties reportedly have equal shares in Clever Sports AG, a Swiss company that is currently under construction. Philip Nieberle, expansion manager at Clever Fit, says that the German group has agreed an exclusive deal for the development of the franchise in Switzerland in the next five years, with a target to open 20 to 25 gyms. Manser is a Swiss real estate and investment firm, which already has an interest in a bowling alley and entertainment center on the Lake of Constance. The person in charge of Clever Fit s development at the Manser group is Andreas Kosanke, formerly in the retail industry. Manser apparently intends to open its first Clever Fit in Switzerland in the Lipo Park, a multi-purpose stadium and shopping complex in Schaffhausen. The group is searching for surfaces of 1,200 to 1,600 square meters, to build up membership of 2,000 to 2,500 members per club. Clever Fit started its franchising business in Germany ten years ago and it has been growing at a heady pace in the last two years, to reach more than 550,000 4 FITNESS NEWS Europe Gyms Clever Fit franchise heads for Switzerland members. Last year alone the number of members surged by more than 20%, ranking the franchising group from Landsberg am Lech among the fastest risers in Europe. Only four of the German clubs with bright red branding are owned by Alfred Enzensberger, the businessman who established the concept. He likes to tell franchising partners that Clever Fit owes its expansion to a simple and efficient proposition. It s based on value for money, with basic monthly prices amounting to about 25. Some of the gyms offer extra services such as vibration plates for an added fee. Clever Fit has already become the largest fitness club brand in Germany in number of clubs, ahead of McFit. The Bavarian group doubled its business in Austria to end up with twelve gyms last year, and it has continued to make rapid strides in the country this year. The group further comprises one club in the south of the Netherlands. Clever Fit clearly sets itself apart from some of the full-service clubs that have been established in Switzerland for many years. Budget clubs have already started to spread around Zurich and other parts of German-speaking Switzerland, which is closer and easier for the German market leaders to target, but they are far and few between in other parts of the prosperous country. While exploring the Swiss market through its partners, Clever Fit wants to continue expanding in Germany. The franchising group intends to open 50 to 60 clubs this year, after similar numbers for each of the last two years. Enzensberger said at Clever Fit s annual meeting in October last year that the franchise could reach 500 clubs in Germany in the next four years. But Nieberle adds that the goalposts could move in the interval, due to the increasing competition in the market. The German franchising group s expansion manager explains that Clever Fit may grow faster by acquiring larger groups that are uncertain of their prospects amid this changing landscape albeit adding that no such transactions are in the works. The target for the longer term sets the goalposts even further, at about 1,000 gyms in the three German-speaking countries. Enzensberger said at the meeting last year that the plans could lead to openings in other European markets, but again no such moves are currently on the agenda. Basic-Fit spreads French gym clusters If Basic-Fit held full-blown parties for all of its openings, it would need a big stash of orange balloons in France: The Dutch group s latest numbers indicate that it opened more than one club in the country on average in the last year. Basic-Fit lifted its sales by 27% to 76.9 million for the first quarter, as the number of memberships jumped by 24% to 1.33 million and the number of clubs increased to 440 at the end of March, up 21% compared with 351 in March 2016 and 419 at the end of last year. Sixteen of group s 21 openings in the three months occurred in France, which raised the number of French clubs to 89 at the end of the quarter, up from 32 at the same time last year. Basic-Fit s French map remains particularly dense in the north of the country, with eleven orange dots around Lille, Tourcoing and Roubaix, and another four between Lens and Douai. But basic-fit has Clever Fit in Munich Photo: Clever Fit established several other French clusters, with 13 gyms around Paris, nine around Bordeaux and six around Toulouse. Then again, it appears more complicated to gain traction in the southeastern part of France. In the same quarter, Basic-Fit opened three more clubs in Belgium and two in Spain. The group also expanded the floor size of two existing clubs. Basic-Fit s target to open 65 to 75 clubs per year was upgraded earlier this year to 100 openings in 2017 and onwards, with the vast majority to take place in France. The 21 openings in the three months until March are below the quarterly average required to reach the target this year, but the group has 39 clubs under construction and another 47 contracts signed, including sites for which Basic-Fit is awaiting permit approval. René Moos, the group s chief executive, thus remains confident that the group will hit its opening target this year. Basic-Fit s turnover increased a little more rapidly than clubs and members in the quarter due to an increase in the average revenue per member as well as a 35% gain in other revenue to 1.6 million. Basic-Fit is the largest operator in Europe by number of clubs but the second-largest in number of members after McFit, and the seventh in turnover with sales of 259 million in 2016.

5 Gyms Silhouette to invest in harmonised concept...continued from page 1 Kjerstin Greve Bruland has been appointed as chief executive of Nr1 Fitness, a group of nineteen Norwegian clubs. She takes over from Trygve Amundsen, the group s majority shareholder, who becomes its chairman. Treningsindustrien reports that the CEO will focus on the operations of the existing clubs, while the chairman intends to actively search for ways to expand the business, along with Trond Balestrand, a minority shareholder of Nr1 Fitness. Greve Bruland is issued from the oil and gas industry, working primarily in sales, marketing and strategy. However, her name was already familiar to many at the group because she also worked as a cycling instructor at Nr1 Fitness for several years. Started in Bergen nine years ago, the group operates with two formats, Nr1 Fitness clubs for and Nr 1 Fitness Xpress, which consists of self-service facilities meant for training without group classes. The Norwegian company boasts that it was the first to open round the clock in Bergen. It expanded recently with the acquisition of Stamina Bø and an agreement to open another club in Lunde. million, with annual membership amounting to CHF 1,199 ( 1,095) at Silhouette clubs and CHF1,700 ( 1,555) for the two Pure clubs. Activ Fitness purchased Silhouette from Financière Brendale, a Swiss firm related to LFPI Group, a French-based asset management firm. Silhouette was previously owned by 21 Centrale Partners (21CP), a French-Italian firm that owned 85% of CMG Sports Club in Paris and added Silhouette in 2011 with support from Swiss Equity Capital Partners. 21CP offloaded CMG Sports Club to LFPI last June but Silhouette formally went to another entity perhaps to enable a rapid sale to a strategic partner. Meier said that Activ Fitness intends to continue operating the strongly established Silhouette brand. The two concepts provide extra density and a complementary offer in several Swiss cities, he explained. Unlike Activ Fitness, Silhouette clubs have personal trainers, three of them have swimming pools and they all offer indoor cycling classes (which is only the case for Activ Fitness in the Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland). Sébastien Duvanel, chief executive at Silhouette for nearly two years, is to remain on board. This transaction is very judicious for both parties. We have quality staff and outstanding locations in city centers that reinforce Activ Fitness in Frenchspeaking Switzerland. But at the same time the takeover will enable Silhouette to move ahead with investments that are badly-needed to rapidly modernise our clubs, from our fitness gear to the furnishings and the infrastructure, he said. Silhouette clubs have not been fully refurbished for at least three years, implying that they require a major fix in Activ Fitness in Fribourg Photo: Activ Fitness terms of technology. Duvanel said that Silhouette will be implementing an updated and harmonised concept for all Silhouette clubs. We have proved with Pure that we able to create and implement a compelling fitness concept, said Silhouette s chief executive. Apart from its 34 clubs in the Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland, the group will have 26 in the German-speaking part and three in the Italian-speaking part. Yet Meier adds that there are still quite a few Gym Briefs Efforts by the Metropolitan group to improve its online contents have paid off, with a rise of nearly 50% in page views for its website last year. The Spanish group, which has 23 upmarket gyms and more than 22,000 members around Spain, boasted about 3 million page views and 830,000 unique visitors to its website at clubmetropolitan.net. The company explains that it has beefed up its online presence with a blog and plenty of information that is relevant to club members and other fitness enthusiasts, on topics such as training, nutrition, health and beauty. Metropolitan has also amped up its presence in social media from Instagram to Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr and a Youtube channel, presenting some of the group s most interesting classes. Metropolitan has worked out that about 68% of the users are women and about 32% are 25 to 34 years old, forming the largest age group. The group s fitness clubs are spread between Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Santander, Zaragoza and eight other Spanish cities. gaps in the group s map of Switzerland, and Activ Fitness already has several more openings in the works. The acquisition marks continued consolidation in the Swiss market. The Migros group s leading rival in the retail business, the Coop group, last year acquired Update Fitness, another significant player in the Swiss market. It had 19 gyms at the time and has since embarked on a spate of openings. Meier compared the situation in the Swiss fitness industry with sports retailing, where he has worked for many years before he switched to Activ Fitness. The consolidation will put extra pressure on smaller clubs, but there will always be space for players that come up with a distinctive offering, be it with cheaper prices, permanent opening or a specialist product, he said. Migros is a sprawling Swiss cooperative with a turnover of 27.7 million Swiss francs ( 25.3 bn) in 2016, mostly in retailing. The European Health & Fitness Market report by Europe Active and Deloitte estimates that Migros Group reaped sales of 366 million with 298 gyms and 451,000 members at the end of last year. This amounted to a sharp increase, due to the opening of ten gyms in Switzerland and the takeover of Injoy. The Migros Group thus turned into the third-largest European operator in revenues, behind Virgin Active and David Lloyd Leisure. Several Turkish newspapers report that the bankruptcy of Jatomi Fitness in the country has been approved by a court in Istanbul. The Polish-based fitness club operator ceased operations in Turkey last June, due to heavy financial losses incurred since the group moved into the country in The Turkish clubs had about 25,000 members but they were unsustainable due to the highly expensive and uneconomical leases entered into by the previous management team, Jatomi explained at the time. The shutdown triggered angry protests as club members clamoured for reimbursement. The decision by the Istanbul court should lead to the liquidation of the Turkish entity s assets, although newspaper reports suggest that they chiefly consist of equipment. It turned out that the Turkish pull-out was part of a decision to downsize Jatomi s operations and focus its European business on Poland, where it has 38 gyms. As reported last month, the group s three gyms in Romania have been taken over by Simon Hayes, a former Jatomi executive who has joined the Energie Group. FITNESS NEWS Europe 5

6 6 FITNESS NEWS Europe Gyms Public sector dip in buoyant U.K. market The U.K. fitness market has reached unprecedented size last year, but the expansion has again been driven by budget fitness clubs and it has widened the gap between the public and private sectors in the British industry. Published by LeisureDB earlier this month, the 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report found that the market s value jumped by 6.3% to 4.7 billion ( 5.5bn) for the year until the end of March. The number of facilities advanced by 4.6% to 6,728 and the number of fitness club members jumped by 5.1% to more than 9.7 million, amounting to 14.9% of the population. The rise was driven by the low-cost market, which expanded to more than 500 facilities. It accounts for 35% of club members and 15% of the market value, as estimated in the report. After this buoyant year, Leisure DB says there are signs that the number of U.K. gyms is likely to surpass 7,000 in 2018, while the number of members could reach more than 10 million, the market value could hit 5 billion and penetation should easily surpass 15%. There is such demand that the average price of budget gyms is on the rise. David Minton, director of LeisureDB, said that low-cost operators have worked out they could quite easily raise their prices above the previous threshold of 20 per month. They re definitely encroaching upon the mid-market, he said at Elevate in London earlier this month. But the proliferation of the budget gyms has widened the gap between the private and the public sector, which has remained almost flat in terms of gym numbers in the last five years. As detailed by Minton, the number of private gyms surged by 26% to more than 4,000 over a five-year period. But in the same interval, the number of facilities in the public sector has remained at about 2,700. The last year analysed by LeisureDB actually saw more closures than openings for the second year in a Source: LeisureDB row and for the first time in five years, membership in British public sector facilities declined. Minton describes the dip as disappointing. It shouldn t have happened, but it indicates that there are still so many under-performing, under-invested public sector sites out there, he said at Elevate, mostly run by small trusts, in-house teams and dual use sites. Cutbacks in government and local spending are reducing budgets in the public sector, which has led to a rise of zero-based budgets. Minton says that trusts and leisure management companies are increasingly prepared to pay sites to run their facilities. That s never happened before on such a scale, said Minton. Supported by the country s fiscal policy, these trusts could explore the huge potential of the public sector, he adds. The market leaders for both the public and private sectors in number of gyms and members are unchanged. Pure Gym is in the lead in the private sector with 176 facilities, against 167 for Greenwich Leisure Limited in the public sector. Minton is upbeat about the prospects for the entire U.K. fitness market, predicting that it will continue to expand at about the same rate for the five to ten years ahead, and that fitness club participation will reach about 20%. He says that there is huge potential for growth, due to improvements in the fitness product that make training more interesting, and technological advances that make it more accessible. Minton particularly regards personalisation as a driving force for the development of the industry in the coming years. The numbers computed by LeisureDB differ from those published in the European Health & Fitness Market Report by Europe Active and Deloitte, which reported a sales increase of 2.3% for the U.K. market in constant currencies. It remained slightly ahead of Germany in euros, despite a 9% slump in sales in this currency, due to exchange rate changes. Plans for Seibold at Fitness First Germany...continued from page 1 in Australia, Asia and the U.K. Peleg was to be supported by the group s chief financial officer, John Wartig. Tilk left amid continuing uncertainty about the ownership of Fitness First Germany. Long headed up LA Fitness for eight years until it was dismantled. He previously led Game Group, a market leader in video game retailing, which expanded to more than 800 stores in nine countries under Long s leadership. His appointment adds an extra layer of management at DW Group, above the fitness and retail entities. It may have been intended to support Dave Whelan, the former football player who established DW in Wigan in Whelan remains the group s chairman. DW was set up after the acquisition of 52 fitness and adjacent retail stores from JJB Sports, another company that Whelan had built up and sold in It established the concept of combining retail and sports retail facilities, which has since been adopted in other ways by the JD Sports Fashion group and Sports Direct. Martin Long, Dave Whelan, Matthew Sharpe, Scott Best Fitness First enabled the DW group s fitness division to rapidly move into London with a more performance-oriented concept. Best and Seibold said they intended to retain the Fitness First offices in Poole, to turn them into a regional hub. Seibold is the manager who expanded Fitness First in Germany from seven to nearly 100 in just eight years. His task was even more arduous at Fitness First U.K., where Seibold had to restructure the chain and upgrade the fitness product. The cutbacks and investments came after investors around Oaktree capital acquired the then-ailing group in a debt for equity swap in DW reported a 3.4% sales rise to million ( 186m) for the fiscal year until March 27, Its operating profit reached just 3.7 million for the year, down from about 8.4 million, due to costs for openings and acquisitions. The activities for that year included the purchase of seven health clubs from LA Fitness, which was sold in several chunks. The buyers included Sports Direct, the arch-rival of the DW Group, and Pure Gym.

7 Gyms Italian clubs form independent group In the splintered Italian fitness market, one of the larger operators in Rome has brought together more than 60 upmarket clubs, to obtain judicious partnership agreements and raise their business profile. Fitness Network Italia was formed by Andrea Pambianchi, whose family owns a group of nine sports and fitness facilities in Rome. He insists that the partnership is neither a buying group nor a consultancy instead it forms a network of like-minded clubs that want to reduce their costs, become more efficient and get fresh business ideas. The clubs in the network remain entirely independent, but together we form an attractive platform, says Pambianchi. This enables us to get interesting agreements with potential suppliers, to find new partners and to raise the profile of the members. As an example, the group organised a get-together in Bologna with Rodrigo Silveira, the general manager of Gympass in Italy. That made it easy for the Brazilian fitness pass aggregator to outline its approach to about forty of the most active and interesting operators in the country. In exchange, they could obtain an increased share of the revenues derived from their potential partnership with Gympass. Pambianchi explains that conditions Fitbit has identified Ireland as the fittest country in the world, ahead of the United Kingdom and Sweden. Based on analysis of data from its wearables, the ranking publicised by the U.S. supplier of fitness trackers is not exactly aligned with standard research on physical activity and fitness. The factors measured and analysed include average daily steps, active minutes, resting heart rate and duration of sleep. The data aggregated from 20 million Fitbit users around the world placed nine European countries at the top of its ranking. The group found that Spain gets the most steps per day, with an average of 9,023. The top ten countries clocking the most sleep include the U.K., with an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes per night, ahead of the Netherlands and Finland. Switzerland, Germany and the U.K. are among the countries where people move most throughout the day, according to Fitbit s research. It was an opportunity for the company to boast that it sold 63 million devices since it got started, to about 50 million registered device users across 65 countries. The group also provided a list of the fittest U.S. cities. for partnerships through Fitness Network Italia are set out in framework agreements, which the members are free to take or leave. A prerequisite is that the participants agree to let members from the other clubs access their facility for free at the weekend. Affiliation to the network is free, except for clubs that want to obtain an ambassador status. Among other things, this gives them the right to decide who may join the network in other Photo: Fitness Network Italia words, they may exclude an operator that competes all too closely with their own facility. Fitness Network Italia is targeting a wide range of potential partners, to reduce costs and to support investment, be it in marketing or technology. Community Briefs Tor Fredrik Kayser Berg from Aktiv 365, a group of six gyms near Bergen, has been appointed chairman of a new board at Virke Trening, the association of Norwegian fitness club operators. The board s vice chairman is Johan Ingemarsson from Actic Norge, the Norwegian subsidiary of the Swedish operator that went public last month. The new chairman takes over from Eskild Larsen, CEO of the Stamina Group, which forms the second-largest gym chain in Norway with about 40 clubs. Larsen is no longer on Virke s board but Stamina is represented through a new member, Hilde Sandvoll, who became managing director of Stamina Trening in August last year. The two other new board members are Hilde Thommesen Holck from 3T and Leif Nilsen from Asker Treningsenter. It s quite a puzzle to put the board together since the rules dictate that it should represent the industry in terms of operator size and geography, as well as ensuring gender parity among the members. Apart from Larsen, the two other members who left the board are Jan Morten Pettersen from Gnist Trening og Helse, and Line Norum from Family Sports Club. An example is a deal with Alitalia Millemaglia, the Italian airline s frequent flyer program. This means that prospects could accumulate points and advantages by registering with one of the clubs affiliated with Fitness Network Italia. The group has been angling for more predictable deals with suppliers as well as partnerships with non-profit organisations. Since word got out about Fitness Network Italia a few weeks ago, Pambianchi has received many other applications from interested operators. He mentions two groups of seven clubs in Turin, another with six clubs in Palermo and three in Florence, among others. He says that the credibility of the initiative was reinforced by his own interests in the fitness industry. The family business set up by his father, Cesare, consists of five W clubs in Rome, two Hard Candy clubs, one personal training studio and a stadium that seats 4,000 people. More broadly, Pambianchi says the network helps to raise the profile of the Italian fitness industry. We have to deal with the education of instructors, with technology, marketing, plenty of fairly complicated issues. We should be recognised as full-fledged entrepreneurs. UK Active appointed Steven Ward as its chief executive last week, as a means to secure the long-term services of this particularly dynamic leader. Ward has been executive director at UK Active for the last two years, after the departure of David Stalker, the organisation s former chief executive. Ward joined the former Fitness Industry Association as an intern in 2006 and he rose through the ranks at a time of substantial growth for the organisation and the British physical activity sector at large. In the interval, UK Active has raised its membership by almost 50% and become established as a central stakeholder in the physical activity movement. The initiatives of the last two years have included the Active Lab, Future Leaders and Sweat, along with more established events such as the Flame Awards, and continuous efforts to support physical activity at Westminster, among the media, the investment community and many other stakeholders. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, UK Active s chair, said the board was hugely excited about the direction in which Steven is taking this organisation. FITNESS NEWS Europe 7

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