Chris Rondeau is CEO of Planet Fitness, which has struck a partnership with Kohl’s in a 10-store test.

Planet Fitness, the big-box gym with low-cost memberships, will partner with Kohl’s in 10 test stores to sop up 20,000 square feet of the clothing retailer’s excess space, allowing Kohl’s to “right-size”to 50,000 square feet and Planet Fitness to gain prime locations in large shopping centers.

It’s a nice fit, says Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau, especially given the fact that back in 2009, landlords didn’t want to have anything to do with Planet Fitness, then an unproven concept. Now landlords appreciate the large number of members that make weekly visits to the gym and also like to stop at other stores in the shopping center before or after.

Rondeau said they’ve been in talks with other retailers to make such an arrangement, noting the many retailers whose boxes are too big for current retailing trends, but the Kohl’s deal was the first to come together. If the test gyms adjacent to Kohl’s prove profitable, more locations may be added.

Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, called the initiative in a statement part of its “rightsizing”strategy “to not only leverage our real estate assets but also drive traffic to our stores through key partnerships.”

Rondeau said Planet Fitness opened 230 stores in 2018, the most opened in one year to date.



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