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Virgin Active ramps up growth plans in Australia and East Asia

Virgin Active ramps up growth plans in Australia and East Asia
September 14, 2015

Leading international fitness club brand Virgin Active as has announced plans to open up to 14 new clubs to Australia and to further grow its club footprint in Thailand, Singapore and other Asian markets.

With business booming, Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Active Australia Managing Director Scott Hood have announced that Virgin Active is set to undergo a rapid growth phase across Asia Pacific with the number of health clubs increasing from six to around 20 in Australia.

Since launching in Australia in 2008, significant numbers of Australians have embraced the Virgin Active concept with open arms.

The brand’s most recent launches in Collins Street, Melbourne and Moore Park, Sydney have reportedly surpassed all expectations confirming the appetite for Virgin Active’s differentiated product mix and world class yet value for money offer in the market.

As a result the high performing global health club company is now looking to accelerate the roll-out with advanced discussions already underway with various sites in Sydney.

In addition to Australia, Virgin Active also announced today that it plans to grow in Singapore and Thailand and is considering extending into new Asian markets.

Commenting on this expansion, Sir Richard stated “we are really pleased with the response to the Virgin Active offer in Australia.

“Our new and founding clubs are performing exceptionally well (with) the generous size of our clubs, breadth and quality of the product offering making us truly unique.

“We cater to a broad market, plus we have prospered continuously since launch, which makes landlords look at us with interest.”

Virgin Active’s current landlords include Payce Consolidated Limited, who secured Virgin Active as an anchor tenant in its landmark new East Village development near Moore Park, as well as Investa Office Trust, the owner of the recent $462 million redevelopment at 567 Collins Street in Melbourne where Virgin Active’s latest club currently occupies 4,400 metres².

Sir Richard added “these are iconic new developments and our ability to attract a broad segment of the market to these locations makes us incredibly attractive as an anchor tenant.

“The other thing about our business is that we respond quickly to the latest trends but with our own twist to ensure our product is fresh.

“We offer kids facilities and swimming lessons in relevant clubs where mums need a bit of active me time.

“Group exercise is back in a major way so we offer over 200 group exercise classes every week in every club. In particular our Mind and Body programs including- Reformer Pilates, Yoga and Barre classes are among our most popular.

“And on the other end of the exercise spectrum is Virgin Active’s high intensity interval class called The Grid - a great example of Virgin Active innovation, The Grid offers four different training programs and each 30 minute class promises to burn 500 calories.”

Detailing the background to the growth announcement, Hood stated “off the back of our impressive performance, in July this year, international investment group Brait acquired an 80% controlling interest in the Virgin Active Group valuing the business at £1.3 billion (A$2.82 billion).

“Like Virgin, Brait is a long term investment partner looking to continue the strong growth our brand has achieved since launching our first club in Preston, England.”

Virgin Active’s global management team has also recently restructured to support these aggressive growth plans with former Chief Executive Matthew Bucknall, who founded Virgin Active in 1999, now focusing exclusively on accelerating Virgin Active’s expansion in Asia Pacific.

Sir Richard concluded “when we first launched Virgin Active in Australia in 2008 my vision was to shake up the health and fitness market and grow quickly, we’re now in a great position for that vision to become reality.

“Our latest club openings in Australia are setting a new Virgin Active global standard in first year success and our plan is to have up to 20 clubs in the next few years. We are now confident we have the track record, a strong pipeline of potential sites and the right infrastructure in place to accelerate our growth.”

Images (from top): Sir Richard Branson, anti gravity yoga and the climbing wall at Virgin Active Collins Street, and Virgin Active Frenchs Forest.





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