WARSAW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Poland’s Benefit Systems , the country’s top provider of gym memberships, is set to expand its own network to 70 healthclubs by 2016, making it Poland’s biggest chain as it cashes in on one of Europe’s fastest growing fitness markets.
Only 6 percent of Poland’s population has a health club membership. But that is growing at a clip of around 20 percent a year -- the second fastest pace in Europe after Turkey, according to consultancy Deloitte.
“We increase the number of members by 60,000-70,000 annually and we plan to maintain that pace next year,” Benefit CEO Tomasz Józefacki said.
He said the group would make a profit from its current chain of 49 gyms next year, expanding that network to 70 by 2016.
“We’ve been in a strong expansion stage, so the business is not profitable. But we are getting close to a turning point,” said Jozefacki. “At the end of the year this business should start making money.”
Benefit, however, faces tough competition, as the country’s growing interest in fitness has drawn the likes of German chain McFit, the largest healthclub chain in Europe with more than 1.2 million members. McFit opened its first two gyms in Warsaw this year.
Benefit Systems entered the market in 2003 with MultiSport, a subscription scheme sold to large companies and then granted to their employees as corporate benefit. MultiSport cards allow for entries to clubs and other sport facilities countrywide.
That flagship product amounted to 97 percent of the firm’s revenue of 332 million zlotys ($98.5 million) in the first nine months of 2014. MultiSport is now used by 490,000 members.
$1 = 3.3697 zlotys Editing by Adrian Krajewski and Clara Ferreira Marques