ST. PAUL, Minn. // PRNewswire // -- Anytime Fitness, the fastest-growing fitness club chain in the world, is showing no signs of slowing down. After opening more than 300 new clubs in the U.S. each of the past two years, the worldwide leader in neighborhood fitness clubs is expanding once again – this time across the Atlantic Ocean into the United Kingdom and Ireland.
"This is groundbreaking news for Anytime Fitness and it represents an important first step in our European expansion strategy," said John Kersh, VP of International Development for Anytime Fitness.
In addition to its 1,250 U.S. gyms, Anytime Fitness also has nearly 100 clubs now open in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and India. The attainment of a master franchisee agreement for the UK and Ireland, combined with other pending international deals, means that Anytime Fitness could realistically open its 2000th club by the end of next year.
"With nearly a million loyal members, and hundreds of satisfied franchisees, we know that our business model will work in virtually any market," said Chuck Runyon, Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder. "Convenience, affordability and a friendly club atmosphere are what our customers want -- and what we deliver."
The master franchisee group for the UK and Ireland includes several individuals with extensive experience in the international fitness industry. The consortium is led by Justin McDonell, the Anytime Fitness master franchisee for Australia and New Zealand, and Andy Thompson, an independent retail planning consultant who founded and served as Managing Director for GeoBusiness Solutions in 2000 (acquired by Pitney Bowes in 2005).
"We hope to open the first Anytime Fitness club in the UK by the end of this summer," Thompson said. "We are currently looking at sites in the Greater London area, the South East and also the South West of England. Our plan is to have 50 clubs operational by end of 2012."
Specific club locations include suburban markets near larger cities and smaller towns where the market for an Anytime Fitness club exists but where no health clubs are currently located.
"We will not be making any significant changes to the Anytime Fitness model as it currently exists in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand," said McDonell. "We believe the opportunity exists for smaller, neighborhood clubs in the UK and Ireland, providing greater convenience and high service standards, which will appeal to existing club users in those markets and also will encourage new customers to participate."
"We want to create opportunities for individual franchisees to invest in a proven franchise system," adds Thompson.
Membership fees at the UK clubs will likely be 25 - 35 pounds Sterling per month. Similar to Anytime Fitness clubs in the U.S., the gyms in the UK and Ireland will be approximately 4,000 square feet, feature a wide variety of cardio equipment and strength training machines, and be accessible to members 24 hours a day.
Founded in 2002, Anytime Fitness provides nearly 1,000,000 members with convenient and affordable fitness options at more than 1,300 friendly, well-maintained facilities featuring top-quality exercise equipment. Members who join one Anytime Fitness club can use any of the other clubs at no additional charge. State-of-the-art security and surveillance systems ensure member safety even during unstaffed hours.
SOURCE Anytime Fitness