Total Fitness in good shape after healthy year of growth

Sophie Lawler of Total Fitness and BVCA's Michael Moore

Cheshire-headquartered gym chain Total Fitness has grown revenues to £39.9 million and exited from its Corporate Voluntary Arrangement, after tough trading during the 2020, 2021 pandemic.

They are the highlights of the financial year to June 2023 which also witnessed 11% growth in revenue (to £39.96 million from £36m in 2022) accompanied by pre-tax profits of £1,254,000 for the year to the end of June 2023, up from £961,000 in 2022. 

As a private equity backed business, owned by NorthEdge Capital, the company also reported an 11% increase in EBITDA (to £5.08 million), which it says continues to build on the company’s pre-covid growth trajectory.

Chief executive Sophie Lawler will be speaking at the Rainmakers conference on the 20th of March.

Total Fitness also reports that it has now returned to pre-Covid membership levels 12 months after re-opening and has expanded its base year on year, achieving an impressive 5% growth throughout the last year. Total numbers of visits to Total Fitness clubs also increased by 8%, celebrated by the management team as a strong indicator of member engagement and sustainable growth.

Tom Rayner, chief financial officer of Total Fitness, said: “Total Fitness remains true to its mission: to provide spaces and opportunities where members can achieve more than they thought possible. The company’s continued investment in the widest possible variety of facilities in its spacious clubs, ensures that members can work out however they want even during peak hours.

“Maintaining high rates of engagement from members makes Total Fitness less susceptible to recent economic pressures on household incomes. We are seen as an ‘essential’ rather than a ‘luxury’ by the majority of members because we contribute significantly to their physical health, wellbeing and sense of community.

“Unlike smaller formats, the ‘super-scale’ clubs are well-positioned to accommodate higher levels of visitation that are a feature of the post-covid world. These positive trends look set to continue, with January 2024 marking a record number of new memberships for the business outside of the covid restoration period,” he said.

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Wilmslow, Cheshire, Total Fitness has over 93,000 members and operates 15 health and fitness clubs across the North of England and Wales.

According to the annual accounts the business employs 580 people, a reduction from 632 the previous year.

Recent data from Total Fitness’ own member research (May 2023) indicates a stable pipeline of future growth, with 44% of new members being “switchers” from competitors. The majority of this growth was coming from new members ‘upgrading’ from budget gyms, which it says underscores the appeal of Total Fitness’ diverse offerings, spacious facilities, and availability.

Last year Total Fitness agreed a loan of £6.5m with OakNorth Bank to refinance an existing loan facility, as well as support the refurbishment of several of its clubs.

Sophie Lawler, chief executive of Total Fitness, commented at the time: “As a team with an exciting story and a unique strategy for the future, we have been thoughtful about the right partner to support us through this next chapter.

“Our experience with OakNorth was hugely exciting – we found them to be dynamic and entrepreneurial, but with an appreciation for rich insight and considerate decision-making.”