the Orange Bleue to launch 450 new gyms and day spas over the next five years | Sports management

the Orange Bleue to launch 450 new gyms and day spas over the next five years |  Sports management

By Frances Marcellin, November 25, 2022

l’Orange Bleue will expand its gyms and day spas in France, Spain and Italy / Orange Blue

José Nercellas, CEO of l’Orange Bleue, plans to open 450 new gyms and day spas in Europe over the next five years to build an 850-site estate.

The chain was founded by Thierry Marquer in 1996 – Nercellas joined the retail sector earlier this year, having spearheaded the successful expansion of French brands, such as Décathlon, Auchan and Okaidi.

With 400 operational locations in France and opening new locations at a rate of 50-100 each year, Nercellas plans to roll out another 200-300 locations across France. He is aiming for similar growth across Spain – where there are currently three properties – and is eager to launch in Italy.

The growth strategy will include the opening of wholly owned sites, as well as those under contract as licensed operators, most of which will undergo a redesign over the next few years.

Of the 400 locations in France only 17 are owned by l’Orange Bleue, the rest operate under a ‘brand license‘, which is similar to – but not equivalent to – a franchise agreement. The fee for abrand license‘ is around 40,000 euros and the contract holders have to set up their own company to run the business.

“It is a different approach from a legal point of view since the contract with a partner mainly consists of the transfer of know-how and operational follow-up”, clarified Nercellas, in an exclusive interview with HCM extension. “We have partners who manage just one facility and others who have five to 10. About 50% of our partners have more than one. We would like to have multi-licensee figures of around 70% in the future.”

Around 11 of Orange Bleue’s clubs are day spas with a focus on wellness, which is another area of ​​growth for the company. “Wellness is our new challenge and I think it’s a niche with huge potential,” Nercellas said. “We would like to develop this part of the company and are currently working on the commercial approach and concept.”

Fitness and wellness are two different concepts for the fitness chain, each appealing to a different demographic of consumers. The wellness centres, which have an average surface area of ​​350 m2, attract more women aged between 35 and 55 and offer a spa area with sauna, hammam and contrast bath, as well as some gym equipment.

The fitness facilities are attended by 18 to 30 year olds, split equally between men and women. It’s around 650m² with 20-30 per cent of the space dedicated to group lessons – around 50 each week.

For 2022, the chain is back to 380,000 members, after losing 30% during COVID. Nercellas’ short-term goals are to achieve a turnover of 156 million euros in 2022 and exceed 400,000 members across all sites in 2023.

Read the complete interview with José Nercellas in HCM extension here.

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