The National Real Estate Investor reports that Fitness and health clubs are on the rise in malls. The fitness industry has grown to be worth more than $30-billion-a-year. There are 36,000 clubs across the U.S. with more than 60 million members.
The trend is fuelled by health-conscious consumers and an improving economy. The industry is also largely internet-proof, since you can’t get the full gym experience over the internet.
Fitness center leasing in malls has tripled since 2008 on a square footage basis.
Drew Myers, a consultant with research firm CoStar Group said: “since 2013, fitness center leasing in malls and lifestyle centers has grown by about 70 percent.”
Landlords are hoping that gyms will drive shopper traffic.
Scott Burns, Los Angeles retail lead at real estate services firm JLL, said: “with all of the regional mall changes and that sector trying to figure out how to best position itself for the future and continue to drive traffic, they need to continue to drive new and different traffic, and this is a way to create a bit of a different draw. It helps fortify it as a key destination for the neighborhood as it puts it in the regular weekly activities of the customers in the area.”
“It’s another body, another person in your mall that may see something that either they buy that day or say, ‘I need to come back next time and make a point to get my nails done or buy a shirt.’ It’s a gravity pull to the property.”
Retailtainment and fitness
Burns’ retail team has leased around 870,000 sq. ft. in fitness center deals in Southern California.
Retailtainment is increasingly important for malls challenged by online shopping. Industry analysts note that the move to an experience economy is fuelling demand for more personal activity rather than demand for physical items. The trend known as retailtainment is seeing increasing fusion of shopping with visitor attractions.