Discount gym operator Planet Fitness (PLNT) continues to outrun Wall Street skeptics.
On Tuesday, Planet Fitness -- which operates more than 1,300 locations in 48 states -- said it smashed through the 10 million member mark. At the end of the fourth quarter, the company boasted 8.9 million members. With people looking to get in beach shape for the summer and the nation continuing to explore healthier lifestyles, one shouldn't be too shocked Planet Fitness' $10 a month memberships are in high demand.
Meanwhile, the company continues to chart an aggressive expansion plan. It expects to open about 200 new locations this year, many of which are in former Staples (SPLS) , Office Depot (ODP) , The Sports Authority or other closed retail sites. Rondeau says Planet Fitness is even venturing into malls, which could badly use the foot traffic the gym provides.
"With the way the commercial real estate is with the shift to online shopping, conditions are really perfect for us right now," says Rondeau. "Ten years ago nobody wanted our store, we were competing for space with Best Buy (BBY) , but fast forward to today and our stores are bringing traffic to the parking lot on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -- which are not big days for grocery stores -- so landlords want us."
Rondeau adds that Planet Fitness has also started to enter Latin America, opening its second store in the Dominican Republic and inking a deal to open sites in Panama. The company remains on pace to open more than 1,000 additional stores over the next five years.
Shares of Planet Fitness have gained 26% over the past year, outperforming the S&P 500's 14.2% gain.
Editors' pick: Originally published April 4.
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