Brasier Freeth client Sweat! is looking to expand across the UK. Over the next three years the gym chain is looking to build a portfolio of over 35 sites, targeting surplus space in department stores and supermarkets. It is already working with Debenhams as the department chain looks to revive its business.
Sweat! Launched in 2013 and currently operates five sites in Walsall, Sheffield, Glasgow, Greater Manchester and Chelmsford.
The brand requires a minimum of 15,000 sq ft and up to a maximum of 25,000 sq ft to trade off two floors and a floor loading capacity of 5 kilonewtons. Sweat! will consider all major cities, shopping centres, high street locations and retail parks. It is looking at sites with prominent roadside locations and is focusing on Greater London sites close to transport hubs and tube stations. Target cities outside London include Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Sweat! has focused on attracting female customers. It promotes “friendly fitness” and focuses on classes and cardio above weights. The group says it has 600 to 800 visits to each of its five gyms every day and a customer base which is 55% female.
It has three spaces under offer with Debenhams and will continue to look for further opportunities across retail estates that have surplus space.
Virgin Active Co-Founder Frank Reed, who is looking to expand Sweat! in the UK said “This is a chance to link health with retail, combine data bases and offer something innovative to drive footfall for Debenhams shoppers and Sweat! members. We are excited about being part of the Debenhams re-designed programme and are looking forward to opening a new breed of gym for the retail environment.”
At the end of last year Reed received £3.7m of equity investment from Puma investments to help fund the next 5 sites in its expansion plan. The deal includes an option for further equity investment of £2.5m after 12 months.
The first Debenhams sites is scheduled to open in May, the second in September and the third in October. Applications have been submitted for conversion into D2 leisure centre.