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Gym Group to raise £31m to fund 40 new site openings

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The Gym Group has said it hopes to raise £31 million from investors to fund an expansion with 40 new branches.

The low-cost gym operator said it is hoping to open the new sites over the next 18 months as it continues its rapid rollout programme.

It said the impact of Covid-19 on the commercial property market has provided a “unique opportunity” to quickly snap up attractive sites on good terms.

Last month, the group said it had already opened four new sites to take its portfolio to 187 gyms.

The UK’s second-largest gym chain said it will use the funding to speed up its growth rate, which has typically seen it open between 15 and 20 sites a year.

Bosses said the cash injection will be funded by a placing of new shares, although the number and pricing will be agreed in due course.

In a statement to investors, the Gym Group added that trading has “outperformed” expectations since it reopened sites in April.

Total membership increased to 734,000 as of June 28, compared with 547,000 in February. However, it is still below pre-pandemic levels of 794,000 in December 2019.

The firm said it expects membership levels to be “steady” over the summer months as more people exercise outside.

However, it forecast that member numbers will increase further in September and October as more people are expected to return to offices and universities.

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