RETAIL GIANT DUNNES Stores is planning to install a high-end gym close to its Dublin city centre head office.
Subsidiary company Silverwood Developments Limited has submitted a planning application to convert a small retail unit on the busy South Great George’s Street into a fitness studio.
The lower ground floor-level unit once operated as a Dunnes Home shop – which shut because it was “underperforming” – and is sandwiched between the centuries-old Long Hall pub and the recently opened Great Outdoors adventure sportswear store. It is also a stone’s throw from one of Flyefit’s 24-hour budget gyms.
According to Dunnes’ planning application, the proposed gym will be operated by F45 Training, an Australia-founded chain that provides high-intensity fitness circuit classes that cost members around €200 a month.
F45 Training has been described as the world’s fastest-growing fitness franchise with 1,500 studios in 40 countries. It currently operates three locations in Dublin and one in Co Wicklow.
Dunnes told Dublin city planners that if the proposed build is given the green light, it will have a “positive impact” on the George’s Street area, adding that the gym would “help meet the fitness needs/demands of the local and working population”.
A report from Deloitte and not-for-profit group EuropeActive published earlier this year estimated that some 504,000 people across Ireland were members of 720 health and fitness clubs in 2018, generating sales of €281 million.
As previously reported by Fora, one of the most significant changes in Ireland’s fitness industry over the last decade has been the arrival of budget chains, the likes of which already dominate Europe’s multibillion-euro market.
Ireland still largely consists of independently operated, mid-market leisure centres.
However, Dublin in particular has experienced an explosion in low-cost outfits like Flyefit and Ben Dunne Gyms, which was founded by former Dunnes Stores director Ben Dunne.
High-end brands have also arrived on the scene, including F45 Training.
Earlier this year, boutique gym Perpetua opened its first branch in Dublin’s docklands with the intention of attracting tech workers in the area.