Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Health Clubs Adapt To Changing Client Demands

“After forking out more than $50 a month to a Seminole fitness club for five years, Bonney Lowe found You Fit Health Club. ‘It was closer to home and costs less than half as much,’ said the 38-year-old bartender who lives in Largo. ‘I don't need the pool, the sauna or those personal trainers hovering around offering you tips. Hey, I've got mirrors at home.’ That sort of trading down has roiled the $19.5 billion fitness industry. Industry leaders say their business proved to be more resilient than most retail and discretionary service industries that endured steep declines through the recession. But nationally, fitness club membership remains stuck at 45 million, about where it was in 2004, and the number of clubs has slipped 4 percent since 2007. In Florida, ground zero for the recession, the trend has been more pronounced as the number of operating fitness clubs plummeted 18 percent to a six-year low of 1,831 this year compared with 2007, before the recession. ‘Overall, we were flat in 2009 in revenue, which was pretty good given this economy,’ said Joe Moore, president of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association...

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