Low-cost gym chain to open 14 new sites by end of year

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The Independent Online

Pure Gym, the value gym chain backed by New Look's founder Tom Singh, has this month raised funding of £15m to drive its expansion.

Following the securing of an additional loan from Barclays, Pure Gym has confirmed plans to open 14 new sites as it aims to have 45 gyms by the end of this year.

The roll out follows a £10m investment in 2010 led by the private equity firm Magenta Partners, whose principal investor is Mr Singh. He founded the fashion chain New Look 43 years ago.

Pure Gym, which charges a monthly fee of just £17.99, has captured the mood of consumers trimming their spending in austerity Britain.

Peter Roberts, the chief executive of Pure Gym, said: "We have achieved significant growth across the estate over the past two years and these new gyms will kick start our dynamic roll out for 2012. With the economic climate affecting people's disposable income, affordable fitness with no contract and 24-hour use gives our members freedom of choice and accessibility."

Mr Roberts, who remains a significant shareholder, founded Pure Gym in September 2008. The company says it invests about £1m in each gym, which average 20,000sq ft in size.

The Gym Group, which has 18 outlets, is another low-cost gym expanding rapidly.

But other mid-market chains, such as the debt-laden Fitness First, are finding the going tougher. Fitness First, owned by the private equity firm BC Partners, dismissed most of its board and parachuted in a new chief executive earlier this month.

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