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NEWINGTON, NH-Planet Fitness is expanding its operations with 70 new facilities planned across the country over the next year. Recently, the health club opened in Orlando; Manassas, VA; and Newark, DE with deals in the works for Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Southern California.

“We’re expanding because we believe the demand remains strong for our gyms,” explains John Craig of Planet Fitness. “Another factor [is] the softness in the commercial real estate market is resulting in some of the most attractive terms we’ve ever seen.”

With many fitness clubs closing up shop around the country, the expansion is counter-intuitive to market conditions. Planet Fitness, however, is a gym whose monthly fees range from $10 to $20 per month and the company seems to feel this strikes a chord with a recession-minded public. “There’s no doubt that some people who are paying $40 or more a month for a health club are re-thinking that decision in this economy,” Craig tells GlobeSt.com. “Our instincts tell us they’re migrating to us, and our growth figures, to some degree, reflect that trend.”

Planet Fitness is aiming for locations in the 15,000 to 20,000 square foot range and will be expanding through a network of franchises. The company currently has 280 locations after starting with four six years ago, headquartered here. If all goes well for the fitness franchise, Brian Kunkel, director of real estate for Planet Fitness, predicts a 100 location expansion for 2010.

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