Fitness First, the UK-based health club chain which made its debut in India around two years ago, plans to expand to 50 stores in the next five years. The company currently has four health clubs in India – one each in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Speaking exclusively to IndiaRetailing, Vikram Aditya Bhatia, MD, Fitness First India, said, “The demography of India and growing disposable income of people work wonders for our business in the country.”
Stressing that the Indian market offers great potential for a brand like Fitness First, he continued, “Unlike the European market, the current size of the health club segment in India is small and unorganised. It, thus, offers us huge growth potential.”
On why the expansion of Fitness First India has remained slow so far, Bhatia said, “With gym sizes ranging from 13,500 to 20,000 sq.ft, it takes time to develop membership base and sort out management work.”
Expressing willingness to grow through various routes and models, the company managing director said, “We are looking at strong partners who bring a strong supply of real estate and local operational experience and strong management support.”
Bhatia added that in India, the company was keen to offer franchise for an entire region or city, instead of just an individual club.
As of now, tier II and III markets are not on the company’s radar and it “wants to concentrate on metros”.
This year, Fitness First plans to open 2-3 clubs in Delhi and Bangalore, including an upgraded format – Fitness First Platinum Club – at Delhi’s Select Citywalk mall. For the purpose, the company, Bhatia said, will raise approximately Rs.25 crore through external mediums.
Founded by Mike Balfour in the UK, Fitness First is one of the largest privately owned health club groups in the world with over 500 clubs and around 1.43 mn members. The health club chain operates in 22 countries and is strongly positioned in all major markets.
– Shubhra Saini