Gym chain plans to create up to 400 jobs in Yorkshire

Leeds based Xercise4Less CEO Jon Wright
Leeds based Xercise4Less CEO Jon Wright
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UP to 400 jobs are expected to be created in Yorkshire over the next two years by a low cost gym chain.

Jon Wright, the founder of Leeds-based Xercise4less, hopes to open another 10 Yorkshire gyms by early 2017, as part of an expansion strategy which includes plans to enter the European market.

The company has secured £31m in funding to help it grow around the UK. Mr Wright said he was looking at sites across Yorkshire for new gyms, including possible locations in York, Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford. Xercise4less already has six gyms in Yorkshire, in places such as Hull and Leeds.

Mr Wright said: “The only budget thing about Xercise4less is the price.”

Xercise4Less has attracted a further £5m equity investment from BGF (the Business Growth Fund), as well as an increased debt facility of £20m with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and a further £6m in asset finance and leasing facilities. The latest round of funding comes as the Yorkshire-based gym chain, whose turnover has almost doubled in the last year, steps up its plans for expansion around the UK.

The Leeds-based business is planning to open its first site inside the M25, at Hounslow later this year, and further sites are planned in London and the South East.

Over the last 18 months, Xercise4Less has opened 15 gyms, bringing the total to 24. It now has more than 180,000 members, and the business is on track this year to achieve a turnover of around £30m and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) of approximately £10m. BGF, which offers long-term capital and follow-on investment, has now invested £12m in the company, after its initial commitment of £5m in August 2013, and a further injection of £2m in May last year. Xercise4Less was founded in 2006 by Mr Wright, an ex-rugby player, from a single unit in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

Mr Wright, who is the company’s chief executive, said: “We are less than half way through a five year plan, with ambitions to grow to over 100 gyms nationwide and create more than 4,000 jobs.”