The Bannatyne Group, the Darlington-based national health club and hotel operator, has completed its recovery from the health club sector’s pandemic downturn and has started its current trading year unencumbered by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Its annual results for the year ending December 31st 2023 record restored growth in turnover and profits, defying the headwinds of the recession.

The business, owned by serial entrepreneur and former BBC Dragons’ Den investor, Duncan Bannatyne OBE, has seen EBITDA profit growth of 30% to £38m and revenues increase by 9% to £139m in the year ending December 31st 2023.

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The year saw the introduction of new classes, innovations and significant investment in equipment, including a £1.78m contract for indoor bikes.

The company has focused on growing membership and paying down COVID era debt, with all COVID loans repaid on 29th February 2024. During COVID gyms and health clubs were closed for longer than all other businesses and losses and additional borrowing affected all operators in the sector.

Duncan Bannatyne OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Bannatyne Group, said: “These results demonstrate what can be achieved when a business focuses on core activities and delivers what customers want at the right price. We have introduced new classes, such as our own Pulse offering, the equipment has been refreshed with fewer cardio machines and more body toning devices, and our price increases have been modest, protecting members from the worst elements of inflation.

“Realising numerous marginal gains and focussing on customer experience is a well-trodden path to business success and I am pleased it has worked after the shock of the pandemic and the recent economic turbulence. Like many of our members, our business is in great shape and committed to staying fit for the future.”