Holmes Place brings in fresh agency backing

Gym chain Holmes Place has brought in Windsor-based agency Promote Public Relations.

The move comes just one month after Promote was dropped by Holmes Place rival Fitness First in favour of FD Consumer Dynamics (PRWeek, 17 March). Promote also previously represented Esporta.

According to agency MD Sue Anstiss, Holmes Place used August.One Communications until last summer.

Martin Robinson, previously chairman at Center Parcs, became chair of Holmes Place in February, taking over from Gerald Corbett, who had been with the firm since 2003.

Holmes Place is owned by private equity groups Bridgepoint Capital and Permira, which together bought the chain for £210m in 2003.

Since the purchase, Holmes Place's financial woes have mounted. In 2003 it reported a pre-tax loss of £13.9m on annual turnover of £81.3m.

The brand operates 76 clubs, 50 of which are in the UK with the remainder in mainland Europe.

In August 2005 it announced it had sold 15 clubs in Portugal and Spain for £76.5m to a consortium of local private equity firms. The company said it would use the proceeds to plug some of its debts and improve its UK business.

Holmes Place last year reported it had boosted UK membership by six per cent.

Holmes Place and Promote declined to comment.

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