The Gym Group says it could outrun a post-Brexit vote recession

Francesca Washtell
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Pay-as-you-go fitness provider The Gym Group has said business would not be affected by Britons' penny-saving in the event of a post-Brexit vote recession.

"We started The Gym Group in 2008 at the start of the last recession so it's difficult to forecast, particularly as we're a low-cost business, that there would be a bad impact," chief executive John Treharne told City A.M.

"There's no guarantee that there will be an economic downturn, but if anything it should drive more custom to us from higher-price providers - low-cost airlines see the same effect in a recessionary period.

"Membership demand is strong and the current interest in the health of the nation and tackling obesity levels is driving increased take-up," Treharne added.

Read more: Britons are spending their money on experiences rather than products

"We see ourselves much more aligned with other low-cost businesses than the rest of the gym and leisure centre market. Our 24/7, no-contract operations also stand us in good stead."

In a first-half trading update today, The Gym Group said its full-year profits were still set to be in line with market expectations.

The company, which went public last November, now has 80 branches branded "The Gym", after opening a further six so far in 2016, while a further eight openings are either planned or already in the works.

Read more: Leisure and hospitality businesses could add £3.2bn to the sector

Membership stood at a total of 424,000 by 30 June, up almost 20 per cent on the 335,000 members on its books in the first half of 2015.

Net debt was reduced to £2.5m, from £7.1m in December. Although the company posted revenue growth of 30 per cent in its full-year results in March, pre-tax losses had widened to £12.4m.

The company's share price was down 5.4 per cent in morning trading to 203.4p.

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