As more Americans receive their vaccines for COVID-19, Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau anticipates the momentum that started in first quarter 2021 will continue to grow in the second quarter, he told Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi and Julie Hyman in an interview on March 30.
“I think the rest of the year, we could see more momentum than we used to see and see a stronger second half than we've ever seen, as people get out there and get back to the real world again,” Rondeau said.
As is typical in the fitness industry, new joins for Planet Fitness increased in January, but the increase was at a higher rate than ever, Rondeau said, with about 28 percent of joins being former members who are rejoining.
“So they're actually choosing bricks and mortar over home fitness,” he said. “They're not afraid of bricks and mortar. They're willing to come back.”
About four percent of joins to Planet Fitness are coming from competition that closed forever.
“So we're capitalizing on a lot of the consolidation that the industry is going through because of COVID,” he said.
Momentum is building, he said, and even the franchisees feel that.
“They're as bullish as I am,” he said. “They really realize that coming out of COVID, the future is even brighter now, quite honestly. There's less competition.”
Post-COVID, people will realize they should have taken better care of themselves, and exercise will be a bigger part of their lives, he said.
Cancellation numbers are trending well for the company with its overall 2020 cancellations on par with its 2019 numbers as a percentage of the member base, Rondeau said. And that has held up for January with January 2021 cancellations being similar to January 2020.
As of March 30, just 20 of Planet Fitness’ 2,100 clubs remained closed, about half of those in California and most of the rest in Canada.
The company is focused on helping those franchisees still closed to reopen and helping all franchisees to rebuild their memberships levels, he said. For that reason, Rondeau and his team anticipate 75 to 100 new locations in 2021 compared to 130 in 2020.