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Fitness operator HITIO Gym has signed its first franchise agreement in the UK.

The Norway-based chain, which combines a traditional gym and studio offering with combat sports training, has revealed plans to open its first club in South London in the summer of 2019.

The signing of the first UK franchise is part of the chain’s plans to expand across Europe. It follows the announcement of inaugural clubs in Spain and Portugal, which are set to open in Q2 2019. HITIO has become one of the largest fitness chains in Norway, with 32 clubs nationwide.

The group aims to open 400 clubs throughout the EMEA region over the next five years.

To support the expansion, HITIO has signed an exclusive partnership with Matrix Fitness, which will see the equipment supplier provide all strength and cardio equipment. All 32 Norwegian sites have already been installed with Matrix equipment.

HITIO’s format aims to bring people together through physical activity by targeting a large customer base – including families with children, who can exercise at the same time.

It offers a number of martial arts-focused group classes, including HITIO Tiger, a programme designed for children aged five to seven years old which develops focus, concentration, discipline and self-confidence through fun training.

The first UK club will be owned by BGB Fitness, an investment group specialising in fitness facilities and with more than 30 years’ combined experience in the health and fitness and property sectors.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?

“The HITIO concept addresses a real gap in the market by targeting both adults and children,” said Matthew Blair, director of BGB Fitness.

“This is something that we feel very strongly about and with child obesity an ever-increasing concern for the UK, HITIO gyms are a fantastic way of engaging families in health and fitness, by providing a real sense of community that is often missing from franchised gyms.”

Mark Chambers, HITIO CEO, added: “The fitness industry is booming and there’s nothing in the market that offers a concept like ours.

“With sites already confirmed in the UK, Spain and Portugal and with Sweden and Germany next in our sights, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of HITIO and we can’t wait to get the first UK site open.”

HITIO was founded in Norway in 1998 by entrepreneurs Per Christian Pedersen and Fredrik Bjertnæs.

Originally a group of small taekwondo centres, the concept evolved into a gym and combat sports offering.

Source: Leisure Opportunities

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