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Planet Fitness Nears 20 Million Members Amid Strong Growth
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Planet Fitness Nears 20 Million Members Amid Strong Growth

The fitness brand has won big with Gen Z consumers. It’s also looking to lower the capital requirements to open a franchise location

Planet Fitness is winning over consumers as the low-price, high-value fitness franchise nears 20 million members, according to its year-end operational metrics. As of December 31, 2023, the “Judgement Free” fitness franchise grew its membership to approximately 18.7 million members, an increase of 1.7 million since the end of 2022.

Full-year system-wide same-store sales climbed by 8.7 percent in 2023, with Planet Fitness equipping 135 new franchised sites and opening 165 new Planet Fitness stores, including 18 corporate-owned locations, bringing system-wide total stores to 2,575.

“We are pleased to have delivered another strong year of member growth, demonstrating important momentum for our business, and continued recovery from the impact of COVID interruptions,” said Craig Benson, interim Planet Fitness CEO. “Our new growth model, which reduces the capital requirements for opening and operating a Planet Fitness location, underscores our focus on utilizing a disciplined, data-driven approach to improving store level returns.”

Winning With Gen Z

The fitness franchise, famed for its annual Near Year’s Eve in Times Square branding, has laid the groundwork to entice Gen Z fitness enthusiasts, leveraging its budget-friendly prices, flexible hours and inclusive environment. The popular High School Summer Pass program, which grants free gym access to teens in the summer months, has also continued to see increased participation as it builds brand loyalty with the younger segment.

In addition to making The Morning Consult’s top ten list of brands resonating with Gen Z, Planet Fitness kicked off 2024 with another Gen Z-grabbing move, collaborating with Grammy award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion for a new ad campaign and exclusive, co-branded merchandise.

Dubbed “Mother Fitness,” Megan Thee Stallion stars in a punchy 30-second promo to save gym goers from negative gym cultures with toxic instructors and “fitspo fakes” before transporting them to the positive vibes of a Planet Fitness gym. 

credit: Planet Fitness

CEO Search Ongoing

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Benson, who replaced former Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau, added that the search for a new CEO is underway. Rondeau was shockingly ousted from Planet Fitness in September with Benson, a Planet Fitness franchisee and board member, taking the temporary reins. The departure took Rondeau by surprise, but also investors — with Planet Fitness shares tanking in response before rebounding upon encouraging Q3 2023 results.

“The board is focused on finding a leader they believe will guide us in capturing the growth opportunities that lie ahead,” Benson said.

Benson had touched on the fitness operator’s new growth model in a November 2023 earnings call, indicating that Planet Fitness has been exploring a price increase in the search for a “sweet spot” in member pricing. As the interim CEO pointed out to investors, Planet Fitness hadn’t raised the cost of its $10 classic card in 30 years. As for reducing capital requirements to open and operate a PF franchise, Benson said it was time to become creative and leverage the size of Planet Fitness, especially as the inflationary environment is likely to linger.

Planet Fitness will discuss its metrics in a fireside chat at the ICR Conference on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. The fitness franchise releases its full fiscal year 2023 results and 2024 outlook on February 22, 2024.

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