• Planet Fitness Bests Peloton, Infrastructure Bill Passes, Better Jobs Picture, AMC To Open Popcorn S

    Planet Fitness locations such as this one in Buckeye, Arizona, helped the company ring up strong sales in its latest quarter. (CoStar)
    Planet Fitness locations such as this one in Buckeye, Arizona, helped the company ring up strong sales in its latest quarter. (CoStar)

    By Richard Lawson
    CoStar News

    Planet Fitness Bests Peloton

    Gym franchise chain Planet Fitness muscled aside in-home fitness company Peloton on the most recent profit report and expects to finish this year with as many as 120 new openings.

    The fitness chain posted total revenue of $154.3 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, a 46.4% gain over the same time last year. Planet Fitness reported $21.9 million in profit compared to a loss of $3.3 million last year when, still reeling from plummeting business as people chose to workout at home rather than a gym.
    “In the third quarter, we returned to positive system-wide same store sales growth and achieved the highest sequential net member growth of any third quarter in company history as well as our highest franchise segment revenue on record," Chris Rondeau, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, while New York City-based Peloton reported greater revenue, with it increasing to $805 million for its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, it reported a loss of $373.6 million compared to a year-earlier profit of $69.3 million. And, the company lowered its annual sales forecast.

    “We've seen a greater-than-anticipated taper of our website traffic levels over the past two months and a slower-than-expected pickup in retail showroom traffic, both of which are important inputs into our forward-looking demand model,” John Foley, Peloton’s CEO said on an investors call. “This reduction in traffic has added increased near-term uncertainty into our forecast.”


    Infrastructure Bill Passes  

    President Biden is set to sign into law this week a bill the House passed late Friday that increases spending by $550 billion over the next five years for improving the country’s infrastructure.  

    Passing the bill came after months of sometimes heated squabbling between moderate and progressive Democrats. The Senate passed the bill in August, but progressive Democrats held up passage until a so-called soft infrastructure bill that includes a raft of new social spending was ready to be voted on at the same time.  
    The second bill, named the “Build Back Better Act,” remains in limbo, but with a promise from moderate Democrats that action will come if cost estimates meet their expectations.  

    The bill approved Friday totals $1.2 trillion with the new spending. It includes billions of dollars to improve roads, bridges, freight and passenger rail and transit as well as to expand broadband internet, invest in charging stations for electric vehicles and upgrade water systems.  

    Jobs Picture Improves

    The Labor Department delivered another round of good news for jobs growth with a report showing strong gains in October and that the two previous months were better than originally reported.

    The Labor Department reported Friday that payrolls increased by 531,000 last month, two days after payroll company ADP reported private payrolls expanded by 571,000. Leisure and hospitality led the gains in the government report with 164,000 to increase the recovery of those jobs this year to 2.4 million jobs.

    The federal agency’s report showed private payrolls expanded by 604,000. But the total was offset by a loss 73,000 in government jobs.

    The Labor Department, also, revised the September figure from 194,000, which was far below expectations, to 312,000, and the August figure by 117,000 to 483,000.
    With October’s increase, the federal agency said the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% while the labor participation rate remains flat a 61.6%, which is 1.7 percentage points lower than February 2020 before the pandemic hit the following month.

    AMC To Open Popcorn Stands

    Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment is creating retail stores and kiosks to sell popcorn.

    By the end next year, the Leawood, Kansas-based company said it plans to have 15 retail locations open in select shopping malls around the country to sell the same popcorn produced in its theaters as well as gourmet-flavored popcorn and candy. “Significantly more locations are expected to open in 2023 and beyond,” AMC said in its announcement.

    Adam Aron, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that competing in the multibillion-dollar popcorn sector is “so natural and logical, one wonders why the idea has not been tried before.” The chain pops about 50 million tons of popcorn a day, Aron said.

    Five new AMC Theatres’ Perfectly Popcorn stores, counters or kiosks will be opened in the first half of the year. Locations also will offer pre-packaged popcorn as well.
    And AMC is going is going digital with the popcorn. Consumers will be able to order fresh popcorn through third-party delivery applications to have at home.

    Source: CoStar Group, www.costar.com