Business 'booming' for Ben Dunne Gyms as profits hit €3.7m
Ben Dunne said yesterday that "business is booming" at his network of gyms after recording operating profits of €3.7m last year.
In an interview, Mr Dunne said that revenues at his gym business touched almost €11m last year.
"We are trading extremely well at the moment," he said.
Mr Dunne confirmed that he exited the UK last year when selling off his three gyms there. He said that he decided to exit the UK business "as we were never going to play in the First Division over there - we were always going to be a small player".
"If you were not going to play at the top-class level in the UK, you are as well off out of it. I got an offer and took it. I didn't lose money and I didn't make money on it - I am happy to be out of the UK," he added.
Mr Dunne also revealed that vending machines selling supplements and energy drinks at his gyms here made €600,000 in sales last year. Mr Dunne has established a company dedicated to selling the supplements through the vending machines, Ben Dunne Supplements Ltd.
"The vending business is growing like mad," he said. "On last year's turnover of €600,000, we made €60,000 to €70,000 in operating profits.
"It is in its infancy. It is going to expand and be a big, big thing and we hope to grow it into a €1.5m business and account for 8pc of turnover."
Mr Dunne, who has 49,000 gym members, confirmed that he will open two new gyms at Limerick and Portlaoise later this year but is holding off on further expansion until rents reduce.
"A lot of people don't realise what is happening in retail and there is going to be so much vacant space in retail parks within 18 months that you will be able to pick up space for practically nothing," he said.