Greenalls plans chain of upmarket health clubs

GREENALLS, the pub and hotels group, is planning to set up a chain of upmarket health and fitness clubs to take advantage of the explosive growth in the number of people visiting the gym to tone up those flabby muscles.

Greenalls plans to open its first centre in Cambridge next year on the site of an old British Telecom warehouse which will be given a pounds 4m facelift. The centre will be designed to cater for business people and professionals.

The group has another two sites in the pipeline and could build up to 10 large centres within the next three years. They are likely to be built on suburban greenfield sites.

The new concept will also be introduced at a number of city centre budget lodges which the group plans to open over the next few years.

Greenalls already runs the Village family leisure complexes and has sports facilities at its De Vere hotel chain but this will be the first time the group has opened a stand alone fitness chain.

Lord Daresbury, chief executive of Greenalls, said: "The whole health and fitness area has strong growth potential. We plan to concentrate on the upmarket end. There is also a strong market for people over 50 which has been left untapped."

Greenalls is also planning an aggressive expansion of its pub estate from its heartland in the North West and the Midlands, concentrating on growing its leading brands such as Millers Kitchen and Henry's Cafe Bar.

Overall the group plans to invest pounds 220m in the year to September opening 25 new sites. Greenalls will spend another pounds 200m the following year.

Investment Column, page 24