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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Retail: Retail revenue

Years ago, gym retail meant a small selection of basic products sold behind a counter. Now retail can turn more profit more than anywhere else in the gym, with opportunities in activewear, supplements and specialised gym equipment. We look at what’s working according to three industry experts

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 1
shutterstock
shutterstock
Location, location, location
Duncan Jefford

The wise adage is true: people buy with their eyes. However, in health club retail, buying incentive is more than visual interest alone. Allowing people to touch and feel the products creates a scenario in which they are much more likely to buy.

According to Everyone Active’s Duncan Jefford, when done well, retail can generate more profit per square meter than anywhere else in the gym.

“We generate more than £3m a year from retail,” says Jefford. “The key is to put it in the right place. Many operators put their retail section behind the reception, which is a huge loss. People need to be able to touch and feel the product to drive purchase.”

While he admits that the retail space at his centres can never compete with online retailers, positioning products in the right place can make a massive difference in terms of sales.

“We generate more than £3m a year from retail. The key thing is to put it in the right place” - Duncan Jefford, regional director, Everyone Active

Seems obvious, right? But Duncan says that concerns around theft often prevent a facility from moving their retail to the front of house. But reassuringly, he said that their stock loss is minimal – less than 2 per cent per year.

Another major sales driver is to have a range of quality products available.

“The vast majority of retail sales are for goggles and swimming costumes,” he says. “These are usually distress purchases, made on-site when a member has come for a workout and forgotten a critical piece of kit.

“However, one thing we’re noticing is that people are willing to pay a bit more for a quality product if there’s one available.”

Expanding the appeal of retail to include pop-up shops in partnership with new companies, especially athleisure brands, is also now proving to be a fruitful strategy.

These work well in a larger facility with a little more space. They’re not a permanent fixture, says Jefford, but they keep things fresh and interesting and have proven to give a great return.

No space for retailing?
Shamir Sidhu

What do you do if you don’t have retail space in your facility? London’s MoreYoga, one of the capital’s most affordable yoga studios, is proving that you can still have a lucrative retail offering even without owning the required floor space.

The company has been selling a range of Yogangster activewear through a mixture of partnership events, in-studio events and online.

More recently, MoreYoga showcased and sold an exclusive selection of Yogangster t-shirts and hoodies at the Om Yoga Show in London.

Highlighting their partnership with Yogangster founder Goldie, an internationally renowned DJ, artist and yoga enthusiast, MoreYoga was able to drive sales and brand awareness by capitalising on this modern yoga icon.

“Retail presents a huge opportunity for MoreYoga,” says Shamir Sidhu, MoreYoga founder. “We have 16 locations across London, but our lack of retail space isn’t stopping us from making the most of retail. We’re pushing ahead in more creative ways.”

“Lack of retail space isn’t stopping us from making the most of retail. We’re pushing ahead in more creative ways” - Shamir Sidhu, founder, MoreYoga

Shamir says that a retail strategy makes sense for all health and fitness clubs. The key is to decide on the scope of what you want to do, based on the capabilities of your facility.

If you can’t have a robust retail footprint, offer something meaningful by partnering with brands that align with your core values.

MoreYoga has partnered with Yogangster founder Goldie (left) to sell its range of apparel
The importance of merchandising
Adam Rai and Leon Judge

When people walk into a high street shop, they’re primed to buy. Not so in the gym environment. According to Adam Rai, co-founder of the GymPro fitness apparel brand, health club operators really need to work twice as hard to drive retail sales in a gym environment.

”People come to the gym with their head down and their headphones on. They’re not thinking about buying new kit,” says Rai. “For that reason, a bog-standard rail is not going to cut it. But when you attract the eye, it sells.”

GymPro sells a variety of hoodies and athletic apparel in 40 leisure centres across the UK.

Rai says operators need only to look at what large sports and fashion brands are doing from a merchandising perspective for inspiration in their own facilities.

"The theatre and energy around a retail space is something we’re really trying to hammer home to our operator partners," says Rai.

“The theatre and energy around a retail space is something we’re trying to hammer home to our operator partners” - Adam Rai, co-founder, GymPro

He adds that operators need to ensure they have passionate retail staff to drive sales.

"Retail staff need to believe in the products that they’re selling," says Rai. "When retail is done right, it can have a huge impact on sales."

GymPro sells a variety of athletic apparel in 40 leisure centres across the UK
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/713283_158252.jpg
Operators share creative ways they’re tapping retail as a revenue source. More Yoga has partnered with musician Goldie to sell his Yogangster activewear.
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