Customers are flocking back to Planet Fitness, resulting in across-the-board growth in revenue, profits, customers and new stores for the Rochester-based gym chain.
“I think the headline is, things have bounced back faster than expected,” said chief financial officer Tom Fitzgerald in an earnings call last week. He called the rebound “V- versus U-shape.”
Revenue was up by 46 percent, to $154.3 million, on the third quarter, an increase in net income to $17.4 million (21 cents a diluted share) compared to the third quarter loss of $3.1 million in 2020.
Year-to-date, revenue increased nearly 48 percent to $403.4 million and the company expects that the full year will be in the $570 million to $580 million range, barring a another deadly Covid wave. The company reported a net income to $37 million for the first three quarters. Last year, it lost $23.7 million during the same period.
After a complete two-month shutdown in the spring of 2020, the company’s 15 million members have returned to the gym at 90 percent of pre-Covid levels, and they are going more often. The company’s mobile application usage is up, with three-quarters of users checking check in remotely rather than stop at the desk, but also to bring in a friend, see how crowded the gym is, track workouts and enjoy some perks, like a gas discount at Shell gas stations.
“So they’re actually using it as a supplement as opposed to substitute,” said CEO Chris Rondeau.
Planet Fitness opened up 24 more new gyms, bringing the systemwide total to 2,193, with only four currently shut down. About 400 are on some sort of mask or vaccination requirement, but none has had much of effect on membership or usage. There have been no permanent closures, compared with an industry-wide decline of 22 percent, though most of those closed gyms were on the smaller side.
But that has only given Planet Fitness more of an opportunity to expand, though company Rondeau said “the couch” is the best source of new members.
After a slow year of advertising, the company is now planning to consolidate 16 advertising accounts into one agency, starting with a big New Year’s push for the start of its 30th anniversary year.