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Author Archives: 4Leisure Recruitment

US interest in UK market?

We’ve noticed recently that there has been an increased interest in the UK health & fitness market from US companies. It’s not the first time that our trans-Atlantic counterparts have dipped their toes in what should be a lucrative market but their big brands like Golds have had limited success in the past.

However, it was always mooted that the UK market wasn’t quite developed enough for the US offering but with the likes of franchise operators Anytime and Snap Fitness starting to get a foothold here and US firms investing in Pure Gym, does the US feel that the UK market is finally ripe for the picking? It’s fair to say that the UK public are far more educated in the benefits of exercise than 10 years ago and  that has been reflected by the increased uptake of gym memberships.

With major US premium Chain Equinox biting the bullet and testing the murky London water with a single club, maybe the speed at which they decide to follow up with subsequent openings will provide stronger evidence that we should prepare for some considerable US driven activity in the near future?

If nothing else, it’s surely a confidence booster for the sector that it’s attracting significant interest from overseas.

Pure Gym Buyout Confirmed

Low-cost gym operator Pure Gym have been acquired by UK affiliates of US private equity firm CCMP. Currently operating 45 sites across the UK, initial indications from their new owner suggest an aggressive expansion plan with up to 40 new openings over the next twelve months.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Source: Leisure Opportunities

Mixed reactions to potential VA takeover

Since our last post about a potential takeover bid by Virgin Active for the David Lloyd chain, we decided to investigate how this move would be received by those working in the sector.

We asked for some input across our Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter pages and it’s fair to say we had a pretty mixed reaction.

Initially, there were  a couple of prominent viewpoints which seemed to be raised quite regularly:

Firstly, that such a large monopoly in such a small sector wouldn’t be ideal as they would start to dictate pricing, and salaries.

Secondly, and more positively, that any deal of this size, would create substantial movement of staff across the sector, thus creating more job opportunities for all.

Thirdly, that the move would be positive for budget and mid market operators who feel they can compete with the service being delivered by the likes of VA.

We also spoke to employees of the parties concerned and again there were mixed feelings. Whilst most were excited about the new opportunities and investment the deal would bring, they were also concerned about the probably gulf in salaries and whether they would be kept on by their new owners.

We’ll keep you posted!


The Importance of Employer Branding in the Recruitment Process

Traditionally, the focus of an interview is for an interviewer to find try to find out if an interviewee is right for their business. But what messages are interviewers relaying to potential candidates about their company and do those messages reflect positively on the business?

Are you mirroring your company’s brand values and vision when you interview?

Full article:

Virgin move for DLL takeover

Two of the biggest brands in the health and fitness market are gearing up for a merger. As reported last week, premium health club operator David Lloyd Leisure have been courting the interests of several investors who could save the debt ridden-business.

It’s now become apparent, in one of the worst-kept secrets in the sector, that rival chain Virgin Active are eyeing a potential takeover bid. The deal would create a £2bn health and fitness empire, although any potential merger is likely to be subject to approval by the monopolies commission.

The big question for industry insiders is: What effect does this have on our industry? Some will be concerned about the diminishing choice of large employers within the industry and that the lack of competition will have a negative impact on salaries. There’s certainly been a trend for senior managers to leave the industry when major takeovers occur and the losses were substantial with the demise of Holmes Place and Esporta.

However, VA may have competition from an unlikely source over the next couple of years as Fitness First rises from the flames of their CVA agreement with a concerted departure from the budget end of the market.

Original article available from

Personal Branding: Do I need it?

If someone asked you what your Personal Brand looked like, could you tell them? And even if you could, would it help you get a job? Here at 4Leisure, we’re all in favour of being able to sum up your essence in a nutshell but here’s an interesting article on why you should have a Personal Brand prepared, just in case….

Apprentice Case Thrown Out

The Employment Tribunal has thrown out a constructive dismissal claim brought by The Apprentice 2010 winner Stella English against Alan Sugar’s company Amshold Group declaring it was “a claim which should never have been brought”.

The tribunal concluded that there was no basis for English to instruct counsel, 39 Essex Street’s Philippa Jackson, as she had resigned from her position.

In a stern judgment handed down this morning, the tribunal panel of three, led by Judge John Warren, stated: “The tribunal considers that the claimant who had sought legal advice prior to putting in her ET1 was ill advised to bring a claim and/or to continue it.”


BABTAC response to Press Statement issued by the Government regarding Cosmetic Interventions

Following a breaking news statement by the Government regarding Cosmetic Interventions, BABTAC gives official response to the media. Standardised training likely outcome to cosmetic interventions review; suggested and supported by BABTAC.
A press release issued on the 1st April, gives an indication of the likely outcome of the Government Review into cosmetic interventions led by Sir Bruce Keogh. Stating that “Cosmetic practitioners such as beauty therapists, and doctors who give dermal filler injections should have to get a formal qualification before they can offer treatments,” the press release suggests that a cross-profession, standardised qualification is likely to be implemented.
Carolyne Cross, BABTAC & CIBTAC Chair responds“We are delighted by this interim press statement which suggests that our recommendation of a cross-profession qualification will work to improve consumer safety, without creating a market monopoly. It is our belief that cosmetic interventions need to be delivered in a safe and standardised way by all providers to enable consumer choice without undermining safety.”

She continues “Many have advocated that a blanket ban across certain professions, including beauty therapists will work to automatically deliver improved standards and protect the consumer. It is our belief that this is misguided and that a standardised qualification working on a recognised prior learning framework will be better for improving safety; medically trained providers will be able to focus on key skills such as aesthetic training, whilst non-healthcare providers including beauty therapists can train in all the disciplines.”

At present, due to the lack of recognisable qualifications, BABTAC do not insure any Dermal Filler or Botulinum Toxin providers, but do represent properly qualified Laser, IPL and Chemical Peel members. It is our belief that some beauty therapists should be able to continue practising minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures, as long as they are operating within agreed remits and with proper, nationally-recognised qualifications; it is our belief that not all beauty therapists should be allowed to conduct these procedures, and that agreed training paths should include pre-requisites to ensure minimum practise standards. We recognise that these procedures are not entry-level offerings, but also believe that highly-qualified therapists have the capabilities to learn these skills, and consumers have a demand to receive them. We are sure that the Review will give a balanced overview and that all opinions and professions have been taken into account.

For more info on this story visit

Major expansion plans for Fitness First

Some positive news for the health and fitness sector with one of it’s major players putting themselves back on the map with some substantial reinvestment.

Fitness First plans to invest £20million in its 85 British gyms, less than a year after it was on the brink of collapse.

The health club operator had slumped to a £672million loss last year as it struggled under a £550million debt burden.

The group was taken over by two US hedge funds, but not before creditors had to write off some debts and about 100 gyms were closed or sold to rivals.

Now the chain, headed by former InterContinental Hotels boss Andy Cosslett, is aiming to attract customers by introducing fitness technology, including ‘virtual’ personal trainers, air showers and hot yoga studios. It is getting rid of many fixed-weight machines in favour of free weights.

Initially, 11 clubs will be renovated with the rest to follow.

Martin Seibold, UK managing director, said: ‘High-calibre fitness staff, unique equipment and a more interactive member experience will put us at the forefront of the UK fitness industry.’

Last year a debt-for-equity swap saw its private equity backer BC Partners lose almost all of its investment and control was handed to two US hedge funds, Oaktree Capital Management and Marathon Capital.

The chain is now debt-free and is looking to expand once more in the UK and overseas, with about £100million earmarked for investment.

Souce: Daily Mail

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