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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Virgin Active CEO: We’ll remain a major UK player

The CEO of Virgin Active has pledged the international gym chain will remain a significant player in its home market, despite selling a third of its UK clubs to Nuffield Health this week.

Speaking to Health Club Management, Virgin Active chief Paul Woolf said the disposal of 35 clubs was not the start of an exit from the UK in pursuit of faster expansion in Africa and Asia-Pacific. Instead, he said this week’s sale is part of its strategy of fostering “selective growth” across a streamlined and more profitable UK portfolio.

The remaining 61 Virgin Active health clubs will now be organised around three core proposition pillars: high-end Collection clubs, big family clubs and racquets clubs – with a broadly even split. Woolf said the company remains committed to growth across all three categories, with investment being made available for upgrades and new sites, such as the forthcoming £6.5m Collection club near London’s Mansion House.

“The UK is a very important market for us and we absolutely intend to remain a big player here,” said Woolf.

“We have a very clear ambition to grow in the UK, albeit from a slightly smaller base. Despite our cuts in the number of clubs in recent years, our absolute UK profitability has increased – we’re earning more money than we were three years ago and we’re earning more money every year.”

Virgin Active announced its 2015 financial results yesterday (14 June), reporting increases in both revenue (3 per cent) and underlying EBITDA (15 per cent) for the 16th consecutive year. Woolf pointed to growth across all three of its key regions – Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific – as vindication for the metropolitan focus, adding that the latter two regions would see significant numbers of new Virgin Active clubs in the year ahead.

“In terms of Asia-Pacific we got to 10 clubs last year and will now invest £150m to take our estate to 40-50 clubs,” Woolf added. “We’ve been quite slow in the first couple of years, really working to understand what members are looking for out there, making sure that our clubs are designed very specifically to meet their needs.

“In southern Africa, we opened 10 clubs last year. This year, we’re opening up to 15 clubs in southern Africa, including two fabulous Collection clubs, one of which will be in Cape Town’s V&A Centre, next to a grain silo being reimagined by Thomas Heatherwick.”

The CEO of Virgin Active has pledged the international gym chain will remain a significant player in its home market, despite selling a third of its UK clubs to Nuffield Health this week.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR
THUMB11273_498136.jpg
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News

Virgin Active CEO: We’ll remain a major UK player

The CEO of Virgin Active has pledged the international gym chain will remain a significant player in its home market, despite selling a third of its UK clubs to Nuffield Health this week.

Speaking to Health Club Management, Virgin Active chief Paul Woolf said the disposal of 35 clubs was not the start of an exit from the UK in pursuit of faster expansion in Africa and Asia-Pacific. Instead, he said this week’s sale is part of its strategy of fostering “selective growth” across a streamlined and more profitable UK portfolio.

The remaining 61 Virgin Active health clubs will now be organised around three core proposition pillars: high-end Collection clubs, big family clubs and racquets clubs – with a broadly even split. Woolf said the company remains committed to growth across all three categories, with investment being made available for upgrades and new sites, such as the forthcoming £6.5m Collection club near London’s Mansion House.

“The UK is a very important market for us and we absolutely intend to remain a big player here,” said Woolf.

“We have a very clear ambition to grow in the UK, albeit from a slightly smaller base. Despite our cuts in the number of clubs in recent years, our absolute UK profitability has increased – we’re earning more money than we were three years ago and we’re earning more money every year.”

Virgin Active announced its 2015 financial results yesterday (14 June), reporting increases in both revenue (3 per cent) and underlying EBITDA (15 per cent) for the 16th consecutive year. Woolf pointed to growth across all three of its key regions – Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific – as vindication for the metropolitan focus, adding that the latter two regions would see significant numbers of new Virgin Active clubs in the year ahead.

“In terms of Asia-Pacific we got to 10 clubs last year and will now invest £150m to take our estate to 40-50 clubs,” Woolf added. “We’ve been quite slow in the first couple of years, really working to understand what members are looking for out there, making sure that our clubs are designed very specifically to meet their needs.

“In southern Africa, we opened 10 clubs last year. This year, we’re opening up to 15 clubs in southern Africa, including two fabulous Collection clubs, one of which will be in Cape Town’s V&A Centre, next to a grain silo being reimagined by Thomas Heatherwick.”

The CEO of Virgin Active has pledged the international gym chain will remain a significant player in its home market, despite selling a third of its UK clubs to Nuffield Health this week.
HAF,FIT,IND,PHR
THUMB11273_498136.jpg

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Global fitness technology provider Virtuagym has raised a new €3m investment from Icecat, an Amsterdam-based technology company which invests in innovative technology organisations.
Featured operator news
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Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Featured operator news
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As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
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Company profiles
Company profile: UPTIVO S.r.l.
Uptivo makes workouts competitive and engaging while building a collaborative environment providing powerful tools to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
On demand
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Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
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ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
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