British Department Store Debenhams To Launch In-Store Gyms

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LONDON, United Kingdom –– British department store Debenhams is launching a selection of in-store gyms, as retailers continue to redesign their offerings around wellness to increase footfall.

As part of its strategy to make its stores a destination for social shopping, the brand has partnered with affordable gym operator Sweat! to encourage consumers to visit more often.

Aiming to attract a younger female base, in addition to providing an aspirational gym environment, each outpost will feature a selection of Debenhams products to suit health and fitness lifestyles.

“We believe that by teaming with Sweat! we will optimise the space that is available in some of our stores whilst offering an attractive and credible leisure experience to customers,” explained Sergio Bucher, CEO of Debenhams.

“The partnership is a step closer to establishing Debenhams as a Destination for leisure experiences and gives customers more reasons to visit us more often,” he added.

Founded by entrepreneur, Frank Reed, Sweat! currently attracts 600-800 visits to each of its five gyms each day with a 55% female customer base visiting gyms 2-3 times per week. The newest offering from Reed who previously founded LivingWell, Virgin Active and Virgin Pulse, Sweat! currently operates five standalone gyms with sites in Chelmsford, Walsall, Sheffield, Glasgow and Greater Manchester. Facilities include dedicated studios for spinning and aerobics and Technogym equipment.

“Partnering with Debenhams provides Sweat! with access to attractive locations and the opportunity to engage with the retailers established loyal customer base,” commented Reed.

“UK gym usage is forecast to reach the 20 per cent penetration rates achieved by parts of Europe and the US by 2020 and by providing a differentiated product in a place that is convenient to customers we anticipate that we will capitalise on growth for leisure experiences,” he added.

For Debenhams, the relationship will broaden its reach to the Sweat! customer base through cross-marketing opportunities such as enrolling each Sweat! member of the Debenhams Beauty Club.

Set to launch in three stores from early 2018, the collaboration follows the launch of a fit food cafe by Crussh in Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street store earlier this year.

Also part of the brand’s ‘Redesigned strategy’, the 90-cover café which offers a selection of healthy deli items, salads and juices gives customers another reason to visit the destination while boosting their wellbeing.

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