Low-cost Gym Chain Pumps Up Plans for National Rollout with BGF Investment

BGF, the independent company established to help the UK’s growing businesses, today announced that it has backed Xercise4Less, one of the UK’s leading low-cost gym chains with a £5m investment.
Founded in 2006 by ex-rugby player and experienced industry operator Jon Wright, award-winning Xercise4Less currently has around 80,000 members and a successful chain of existing gym sites, predominantly located across the North of England. Having started as a single unit in Castleford, the business now operates from nine sites and employs over 250 people, as well as providing work for over 150 freelance staff.
Turnover has more than doubled in the last financial year to £7.5m and the company has exceeded management’s original targets by over 250% in the last 5 years.
BGF’s investment will provide the business with capital needed to support management’s ambitious 5-year plan, which includes the rollout of approximately 100 new gyms nationwide. This will in turn create up to 4000 new jobs.
Xercise4Less currently has agreements signed on 14 sites, which sees the brand take on more market share in Yorkshire, the North East and the South West. Uniquely to Xercise4Less, its gyms are typically located at large out-of-town sites with floor sizes of 30,000 square feet or more that offer advantages to customers over traditional city centre budget gyms such as additional space, more gym equipment and a wider variety of choice and plentiful parking.
Xercise4Less, which has been heralded by the regional media as the ‘The People’s Gym’, was awarded The Budget Gym of The Year at the National Fitness Awards 2012.
Xercise4Less founder and CEO, Jon Wright said:
“BGF’s funding will give us the financial and operational facilities to continue our expansion at a key time for the market and we look forward to working with Richard and the team over the coming years.”
He added: “The Xercise4Less concept is growing because we believe that a budget gym shouldn’t offer a budget experience. Cost remains a major issue for many consumers today but we work hard to ensure our members benefit from many added value services. The facilities we offer and the price at which we offer them, continue to attract a large tranche of new consumers into the market.”
Richard Taylor, BGF, commented:
“We are delighted to be working with Xercise4Less; it is an exciting brand with a very simple but attractive consumer offering. The company has established a unique model in a high growth sector and the management team, under Jon’s guidance, has demonstrated its expertise in rolling out new gyms over the past 18 months and consistently delivering a fantastic customer experience at the same time.
“We have no doubt that they will be capable of growing and managing the business on a much larger scale.”
The UK gym market was valued at around £4bn in 2012 (source: The Leisure Database Company) with a growing trend whereby more nimble low-cost gyms are increasingly taking market share from mid-market operators.
This is the third investment completed by BGF’s Northern team in two months, making it currently one of the most active investors of long-term growth capital in the region.