Earlier this week, Planet Fitness announced plans to expand into storefronts vacated by Toys “R” Us and Sears. In all, the fitness franchise will expand into an additional 225 locations this year, adding to the more than 1,800 locations it already has.
What’s driving this growth strategy? According to finance website The Motley Fool, in part, opportunity in the market.
On its podcast, co-hosts Chris Hill and Emily Flippen noted that 80 percent of Americans don’t currently belong to a gym. That statistic, combined with the fact that more than 75 percent of Planet Fitness members say they prefer to combine a visit to the gym with shopping needs means there’s a potential for major growth.
According to Flippen, Planet Fitness is able to snap up vacant real estate relatively cheaply, and in so doing help to revitalize the shopping malls and areas around it. After all, the gym is a place people need to come back to with relative frequency to get value — so there’s an opportunity for recurring foot traffic, which can benefit Planet Fitness’ retail neighbors. As she puts it, “People go to the gym every single day, or at least a few times a week, at a minimum, versus other shopping places, which is maybe a once-every-week, every two weeks type of visit.”
In addition to luring its members to retail neighbors, the retail locations could in turn lure members back through the gym doors.