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PureGym's expansion: The changing of the guard in the retail space

Speculation that PureGym has set its sights on former Wilko stores signals a significant shift in the industry landscape. This move not only highlights the changing of the guard in retail but also sheds light on the growing demand for fitness facilities, driven by the rising health consciousness of consumers.

With an impressive 352 gyms across the UK as of June 2023, PureGym has emerged as a disruptor in the fitness industry. Its interest in numerous former Wilko sites, particularly in the South East of England, underscores the company's strategic expansion plans and its recognition of the potential value these locations hold.

While the specific locations under consideration by PureGym remain unknown, their interest in these sites demonstrates the company's commitment to offering accessible fitness options to a wider consumer base. This move aligns with the evolving preferences of consumers, who are increasingly prioritising their health and well-being.

The trend of fitness facilities moving into former retail spaces is not limited to PureGym. This shift is indicative of the broader market, where fitness centres are capitalising on the availability of large, vacant sites. As consumers become more health-conscious, the demand for accessible fitness options has skyrocketed in the past year.

While the fate of Wilko itself remains uncertain, with no rescue deal achieved, the interest from PureGym and other fitness providers highlights the adaptability and versatility of retail spaces. It is no longer solely about traditional retail; the changing guard in the industry has opened up opportunities for businesses outside the retail realm to thrive.

As PureGym eyes these former Wilko locations, it joins the ranks of disruptors such as Aldi and Lidl, who are also keen to snap up these sites for their own expansion plans. This convergence of industries reflects the need for businesses to adapt to the evolving demands of consumers and seize opportunities in the changing market landscape.

While the closure of Wilko stores by October 8 will result in around 10,000 redundancies, PureGym's interest in these locations offers a glimmer of hope. By repurposing these sites as fitness facilities, PureGym has the potential to create new employment opportunities, providing a silver lining amidst the challenging times faced by the retail sector.

PureGym and Poundstretcher are looking to take over former Wilko stores, Retail Week has learned.

A property expert told Retail Week the two companies are eyeing up numerous former Wilko sites across the country, with particular interest in the South East of England. 

PureGym has 352 UK gyms as of June 2023 and Poundstretcher has around 350 UK stores, and it is unknown which locations the companies are considering.”