GYMBOX plans London and UK expansion with £10m BGF investment

Boutique gym chain’s backing marks investment company’s second foray into fitness market

The Business Growth Fund (BGF), the independent investment company created by five of the UK’s high street banks, today announced a £10m growth capital investment into London-based boutique gym chain GYMBOX.

Founded in 2001 by Richard Hilton, GYMBOX was established as a design-led gym for Londoners, combining unusual interior design with a “unique” approach to exercise which includes live DJ’s in classes and sessions targeted at specific body parts.

Since opening its first branch in 2003, the chain has spread to five sites across London, with an expected turnover of £10m for 2014 and 13,400 members.

BGF’s backing will allow the chain to begin roll-out of “several” additional sites across London and the UK, with three additional sites already secured.

It marks the independent investment company’s second foray into the fast-growing fitness market, which was valued at £3.29bn last year, after it backed low-cost gym chain Xercise4Less with £5m investment in September 2013.

Paul Campbell, current chairman of the Hawksmoor steak restaurant chain and former founder and CEO of The Clapham House Group, will join the board as non-executive chairman following the deal. BGF said Campbell’s experience of leisure roll-outs would prove “invaluable” as GYMBOX expands.

Richard Hilton, founder and managing director of GYMBOX, said: “This is an exciting announcement for us and we are delighted to be working with BGF as we look to the next stage of our growth.

“The GYMBOX brand has gone from strength to strength in recent years based on our contemporary club designs, exciting and original classes and our ability to offer customers new and unique ways of keeping fit.

“We look forward to opening new sites this year and next and introducing the GYMBOX concept to a wider in audience in London and other UK cities.”

Alistair Brew, investment director for BGF, will also join the GYMBOX board following the deal. Commenting on the deal, Brew said: “We saw this as a fantastic opportunity to back an ambitious and proven management team in the roll-out of a successful and differentiated gym business which has had impressive success to date.

“Richard is a driven and committed entrepreneur whose track record of site selection, which is key in roll-out programmes of any nature, has been outstanding. The business has consistently hit its financial targets and we are delighted to be partnering at this stage of GYMBOX’s exciting development.”

 

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