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Gymshark’s US business will account for “more than half its turnover in future”


Gymshark sets its sights on America
The retailer has said it does not expect to raise further funds “at the moment” and continues to talk down the prospect of a public listing.
// Gymshark continues to ramp up its North American Operations and demand remains across states
// Gymshark’s president for North America expressed confidence that its American business will account for more than half its turnover in future

The United States is already the gym wear staple’s biggest market but as far as Francis is concerned, there is still much to be done across the pond.


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He told The Times: “I think we currently occupy about 0.6% of the market, from a fitness perspective, in the US,” the group’s co-founder and chief executive said.

“There’s obviously massive, massive room for growth.”

Gymshark’s president for North America Henry Spears told The Times that trading had slowed from those “momentous” levels, but that business continues to rise at a double-digit pace.

Total sales of £500 million this year would amount to an increase of about 14% on £437.6 million in 2021.

Despite recording significant sales in the US from 2015, Gymshark only decided to establish an office in the country in 2019, which finally opened last February.

“If you come to the US and start acting like a Brit, it’s not going to work,” Francis told The Times.

“If you treat the US like the UK, it’s not going to work. It’s a different working culture, it’s a different size of market; it’s much larger than the UK market. It’s much more competitive, in many respects.”

Spear said a UK-focused company can launch something in London that has a “ripple effect” that spans much of the country. In contrast, “if I do something in Miami, someone in Los Angeles might not even hear about it”.

Francis decided to set up camp in Colorado thanks to the state’s focus on health and “amazing” quality of life.

The Denver office only had ten full-time staff on the ground in America 18 months ago and now the gym wear giant has more than 130 and, by this time next year, expects to have about 200, Spear said.

This growth is powered, in part, by Gymshark’s first and only fundraising.

The private equity group General Atlantic acquired a 21% in August 2020, valuing the business at more than £1 billion.

The partnership was designed to facilitate further growth and international expansion, specifically into North America.

Gymshark has said that it does not expect to raise further funds “at the moment” and continues to talk down the prospect of a public listing.

“The first question you have to ask is why would Gymshark IPO,” Francis said. “Why would Gymshark not continue to grow organically? Do we want to be a public business, or are we better suited as a private business? Is there the opportunity for us to do something else?

“Again, I don’t know. This is where, over the next — whatever it is — 12, 24, 36 months, I need to understand exactly what the opportunities are for us, and whether or not an IPO is the right next step for this business.”

After attracting hundreds of thousands of new US customers over the past two years, Gymshark is now looking to maintain this momentum.

With fulfilment centres near both coasts — Allentown, Pennsylvania, from the east and Rialto, California, from the west — it has cut delivery times significantly with the the days of shipping stock from Belgium well in the past.

With robust demand holding, Spear expressed confidence that Gymshark’s American business will account for more than half its turnover in future.

He said the warmest states across the US, such as Texas and Florida, are markets where the company sees some of the biggest opportunities.

It is looking at how to reach younger consumers “at the beginning of their sport journey” in their early teens.

As Francis draws up a three-year plan with his team, nothing is off the table according to the Times.

Even acquisitions, something the company has yet to do, are the subject of an “open conversation” among its executives.

Once Gymshark has opened its first physical shop on London’s Regent Street this summer, he “would love to” follow suit in America. “I think the opportunity for offline [retail] in the US for us is huge, as well.”

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