The low-cost gym chain Planet Fitness plans to go public, according to documents filed with the SEC on Monday. Here's eight things we learned from the filing.
1. Planet Fitness is growing very, very quickly. Between company-owned and franchised gyms, it has grown from 389 locations in 2010 to opening its 1,000th location on June 8.
2. With its $10-a-month membership fees, the chain has attracted a staggering number of members: over 7.1 million, up from 6.1 million at the end of last year. It had 2.3 million members at the end of 2010.
3. What makes the chain unique isn't just its low prices, but its judgment-free philosophy. The company call its gyms Judgement Free Zones, "where anyone — and we mean anyone" can belong.
4. One way it keeps costs low is by not offering "non-essential amenities" like "group exercise classes, pools, day care centers and juice bars."
Instead, there are Pizza Mondays, Bagel Tuesdays, and Tootsie Rolls at the front desk.
5. Its 20,000-square-foot locations are getting more crowded — at least when members actually show up. The average number of members per location has risen from 5,858 at the end of 2010 to 6,607 at the end of 2014.
6. The chain is concentrated on the East Coast. While there are 39 franchised gyms in California, there are 50 in Massachusetts, 74 in Florida, and 82 in New York.
7. The company is loaded up with debt after being taken over by the private equity firm TSG in 2013. It has $387.6 million in debt and leases.
That's compared to $280 million in revenue in 2014. Of that, it paid $22 million in interest on its debt, and made $37.3 million in profit.
8. But its growth recipe is simple: The company says its $10 basic monthly membership fees are a fraction of the industry average of $46 a month.
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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