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Landmark Group acquires Gulf Fitness First franchise

Landmark Group acquires Gulf Fitness First franchise
October 18, 2010

Fitness First's franchise business in the Middle East and North Africa has been acquired by the United Arab Emirates-based Landmark Group, through its investment arm Landmark Investments.

The transaction, a complete buyout of the business from current franchise Awwal Fitness Ltd and its subsidiary Leisure Unlimited, which is part of the Alhokair Group of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking of the acquisition, Landmark Group Chairman Micky Jagtiani, explained "we are excited about this very significant expansion of Landmark Group into the health and fitness segment. Fitness First is a globally recognised brand with an enthusiastic following that fits perfectly into our fast-growing cluster of retail and hospitality brands."

Alhokair Group Chairman Fawaz Alhokair, stated that "we are proud with what we have achieved in such a short time. I am sure the Fitness First brand is in safe hands with the Landmark Groupâs expertise and we look forward to seeing even greater achievements in the future."

In addition, Fitness First Chief Executive Colin Waggett, added "the development of our franchise business is an increasingly important part of our strategy and we are delighted to partner with Landmark Group to continue the growth of our business in the Middle East region."

The Fitness First Middle East franchise business presently operates 16 outlets in Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Landmark Group expects to expand operations and providie the 'Fitness First experience' to a much larger base of customers in the region.

The acquisition comes on the heels of a series of several growth initiatives by the Landmark Group, marking the continuous diversification of the Group from its traditional fashion and retail business. It is one of the largest retail conglomerates in the Arabian Gulf region, with more than 900 stores and some 31,000 employees.

The deal follows a legal dispute between UK-based Fitness First and Leisure Unlimited, which in May saw the gym chain take out an advertisement in a Gulf newspaper for a new franchisee.

Landmark Group said it intends to absorb all employees of the existing Fitness First outlets in the Middle East.

Fitness First Plc operates more than 540 Fitness First clubs across the globe, reaching 1.4 million members in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

Click here to visit the Fitness First Middle East website. 


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