In this Placer Bytes, we dive into the recoveries of Planet Fitness and Sprouts.
Planet Fitness Poised For Big 2021
The wider fitness sector is seeing all the signs of a significant offline recovery, and one brand that could be poised for a huge year is Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness, one of our 2021 winner predictions, hit an impressive milestone the week beginning April 12th. With visits up 4.0% compared to 2019, the brand saw growth on a relevant comparison for the first time since the start of the pandemic. And there are several reasons why this accomplishment is especially impressive.
While Planet Fitness has been rising since the retail reopenings began last spring, the company faced unique recovery challenges. The fitness sector aims to bring together lots of people in an enclosed space - something less than ideal for the pandemic environment. And normal routines around work and school were fundamentally disrupted.
Yet, even following those challenges, visits are on the rise, and it doesn’t appear that they will slow down. Looking at visit percentage by time of day for the first two weeks of April compared to the equivalent weeks in 2020 and 2019, shows that the current pattern closely mirrors those from a normal 2019 period. This strongly implies that visitors are back to regular routines, showing that the surge should sustain. Additionally, the jump in April is important as the gym sector normally sees visits decline in the spring, as the promise of New Year’s resolutions begin to fade. The delay and the corresponding pent-up demand could actually drive more activity during a period not known for seasonal strength.
The brand will likely also benefit from the value orientation of its model in a post-COVID environment defined by economic uncertainty. Finally, the struggles of other competitors combined with that reach and value, could position the brand to fill the vacuum left by closing competitors. The result of all this leaves a myriad of reasons to feel even more confident about Planet Fitness’s 2021 potential.
The Regional Silver Lining for Sprouts
Sprouts has ridden the same waves as much of the grocery sector in 2021 with early strength hit hard by inclement weather before returning in March and April. But, the brand’s recent performance - visits were down just 5.2% and 4.4% the weeks beginning April 5th and 12th compared to the equivalent weeks in 2019 - may actually be obscuring the true 2021 upside.
While visits were down just 5.2% and 4.4% compared to 2019 the weeks of April 5th and 12th, they were down 7.7% and 10.8% in California those same weeks. And considering that California has the largest number of Sprouts locations, a stronger rebound in this state could lead to a significant spike in visits. This means that a full recovery could be just a state’s fuller reopening away.
Can Planet Fitness continue its impressive trajectory? Will further California reopenings drive more visits to Sprouts? Visit Placer.ai to find out.