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Independents are holding their own

INDEPENDENT gym operators are maintaining their position in a growing industry according to this year’s FIA State of the UK Fitness |ndustry Report.
They now have a membership base of 1.3 million members across the country and have enjoyed a one per cent increase in like-for-like membership numbers since January 2006.
The Leisure Database Company carried out research for the report and Director, David Minton, said: “This is particularly impressive as the figures from 2005 showed that independents had suffered a six per cent loss in membership numbers.
“After seeing those figures we wondered whether it was the beginning of the end for those gyms, but now they seem to have bounced back considerably.”
Over the last year 73 new independent gym facilities have opened across the UK and the value for the independent sector is now £0.65 billion, up £23 million since January 2006.
Mr Minton added: “I think the main reason for the independent gyms’ success is that the bigger chains have been focussing their money and resources on new technologies rather than customer service.
“They have been losing track of the fact that fitness is a people business and are cutting costs by reducing staff.
“Modern technology might allow you to get people in and out quickly and save money, but it does not build relationships.”
The State of the UK Fitness Industry Report is the only report produced from a complete audit of UK operators.
It illustrates how the fitness industry has developed across the country over the year.
Mr Minton added: “It is interesting to see that the North East has seen the fastest and highest growth rate from a fairly slow beginning.
“There has been a 6.4 per cent growth of membership, which has shot up from a decline of 2.3 per cent in the previous year.
“Of course London is still the biggest and fastest growing region, and it is also worth the most.
“However, it is also good to see that only three areas, Scotland, the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside have shown no growth or a slight decline.”

Go backPosted on 2nd October 2007