Virgin Active to spend £100m to kit out gyms

Michael Bow
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VIRGIN Active, one of the world’s largest gym chains, today said it will invest £100m in its UK sites over the next three years, part of a campaign to lure the traditional post-Christmas influx of new gym users to sign up to the chain.

The company, which was founded in 1999 and is controlled by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, said that it will spend the cash on refurbishments and a host of new machines and equipment between now and 2017.

The investment programme builds on the £15m it spend last year rolling out nine upmarket gyms – the so-called classic collection – to attract more customers in an increasingly competitive market.

“We believe our investment will help motivate people to become active-ists in 2014 and beyond,” Virgin Active’s UK managing director Matt Merrick said in a statement today.

The investment programme cements wider changes at the company – co-owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group alongside CVC – after it shuffled its executive team last year to accelerate its growth plans.

Paul Woolf, the former finance director of food firm Birds Eye, was appointed chief executive of the company in September, replacing founder Matthew Bucknall who was made group president.

The group is the second largest gym chain in the world by revenues, behind Fitness First.