Gyms snap up prime spots in UK’s retail centres

Gyms snap up prime spots in UK’s retail centres

UK leisure and health companies are capitalising on enticing rents to drive growth plans, as

UK leisure and health companies are capitalising on enticing rents to drive growth plans, as gymnasium operators snap up prime places in retail parks and hollowed-out excessive streets and procuring centres.

Anytime Health, the UK’s third-largest non-public operator, introduced a 20-site growth in 2022 final week, whereas sector chief PureGym has stated it’s seeing many extra enticing websites at decrease rents than earlier than the pandemic.

Anytime stated the growth confirmed landlords’ want for a broader combine of companies on UK excessive streets, whereas there’s additionally a must fill vacancies as retailers prioritise ecommerce over bricks-and-mortar growth.

The operator has acquired a metropolis centre rental web site for £125,000 per 12 months, together with a major rent-free interval, in contrast with a marketed worth of £225,000 per 12 months in 2019.

Commenting on landlords’ curiosity within the £5bn UK gymnasium sector, Neil Randall, chief government of Anytime Health, stated: “Gyms are venues that drive footfall. Face-to-face retail alone doesn’t get individuals into central areas however leisure companies and gymnasiums are encouraging extra individuals to come back in.”

The operator, which could have greater than 200 websites within the UK after its growth, can be focusing on empty workplace areas and excessive avenue places, utilizing “small field” websites as small as 3,000 sq ft to enter central places.

Attendance charges for low-cost gyms are largely returning to pre-pandemic ranges and gymnasiums are additionally benefiting from extra beneficial planning permission circumstances, Randall and PureGym chief government Humphrey Cobbold stated.

PureGym, the UK’s largest operator, plans to open 30 to 40 websites in 2022, whereas London-listed operator The Gymnasium Group stated final month it might open 28 websites in 2022.

Finances gyms have few employees and rental prices are amongst their largest expenditure. Making financial savings on lease may enhance earnings by as a lot as 2 to three share factors, Harry Barnick, an analyst at Third Bridge, stated. “One of many key drivers of growth and the push in direction of extra websites is the potential discount in rental charges versus pre-Covid.”

PureGym and The Gymnasium Group have centered on growth in retail parks, because of the bigger websites out there. “We’re gaining access to respectable areas in prime quality retail parks the place we’d not likely have gotten a glance in earlier than as a result of there would have been too many retailers bidding for area,” stated Cobbold.

These websites will not be essentially cheaper than earlier than Covid however carry further income as a result of their places, he added.

Emptiness charges stay excessive throughout UK, with the Native Knowledge Firm forecasting that 14 per cent of retail and leisure venues will stay empty within the first half of 2022, in contrast with 12 per cent earlier than the pandemic.

Landlords have lengthy used leisure services like mountaineering centres or cinemas to extend “dwell time” in procuring centres. Landsec, a number one industrial landlord, stated it prioritised a mixture of properties.

“Something that makes somebody keep in a procuring centre or bodily retail surroundings is gold mud for a landlord,” stated Adam Caplan, a director at Anytime’s actual property adviser, CBRE.

Jonathan Pritchard, a retail analyst at Peel Hunt, stated fewer retail companies had been searching for to develop their bricks-and-mortar provide and had been as a substitute centered on ecommerce, which can be benefiting health and leisure.

Randall predicted additional growth for the sector. “The demand for well being and wellbeing is excessive after Covid; individuals are putting a excessive value on their very own well being,” he stated.

Clients use equipment at an Anytime Fitness gym in Worthing, UK
Purchasers use tools at an Anytime Health gymnasium in Worthing, UK. Additional growth is being predicted for the sector © Julie Edwards/Alamy