Monday, May 4, 2009

Health Clubs Gain Muscle In Downturn

“Private health club operators have seen no let up in membership levels in spite of the downturn, according to figures published by The Leisure Database Company, a consultancy. In a sign health-conscious Britons may be more reluctant to forgo their gym memberships than would have been expected, LDC said private health and fitness clubs had seen a 1 per cent like-for-like increase in membership numbers during the 12 months to the end of March. ‘The industry is showing remarkable resilience,’ said David Minton, director of LDC. ‘In times of a recession, people are seeing exercising as a way to release stress and the gym as a place to network. This is especially true for those who are unemployed or [are] working fewer days.’ The figures offer a contrast to a report published in March by Mintel, which painted a more worrying picture of the private fitness industry. In the grip of a worsening economic climate in which gym fees were increasingly viewed as a luxury, Mintel said it was expecting penny-pinching consumers to trade down to cheaper alternatives, such as local authority -run facilities. It forecast 8m extra admissions to public leisure centres this year and a 100,000 fall in private health and fitness club memberships. Mr Minton of LDC agreed membership levels at public leisure centres were increasing..."

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