Malls look to get fit with gyms

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The nation’s malls are embracing gyms as they look to tap into the health-conscious movement.

JLL, which specializes in real estate and investment management, analyzed more than 6,000 fitness center move-ins since the start of 2013. As the fitness trend explodes, the number of gym openings increased by 23.5% since 2010 and encompasses 111,055 locations so far in 2019, according to IBISWorld. And while fitness move-ins at malls are still comparatively small, they’re growing at a fast clip. Malls accounted for 3% of fitness center leases signed in 2013; that rose to 6.5% last year, according to JLL and CoStar Group. The trend is expected to continue — IBISWorld expects fitness locations to be in 120,700 overall retail locations by 2024 — an increase of 8.7%.

Experts say the increase in gym tenants translates into big benefits for shopping center landlords — 47% of consumers are motivated to visit a mall if it has a fitness center or wellness tenant. JLL says fitness consumers also tend to be higher earners with an average household income exceeding $80,000.

James Cook of JLL says savvy landlords can bring in other tenants like vitamin and athleisure stores to encourage fitness shoppers to linger after their workouts.

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