Consumer interest in wellness is fueling a new crop of shopping center clusters centered around gyms and health clinics. In both urban and suburban areas across the U.S., health and wellness focused-retailers and restaurant chains are looking to open locations within walking distance of fitness centers that are increasingly becoming a part of consumers’ daily routines.
The global wellness economy accounted for $4.2 trillion in 2018, up 12.8 percent from two years before, according to the Global Wellness Institute. The number of fitness and wellness-focused tenants at shopping centers has more than doubled over the past decade, from 6,218 in 2008 to more than 14,000 in 2018. Adding to this trend, CVS recently announced its two-year plan to open more than 1,500 HealthHUBs featuring expanded health clinics, labs for health screenings, on-staff dieticians and wellness rooms for yoga and health-centric seminars. According to the ICSC, gyms and wellness centers are functioning in the same way as former shopping center anchors: driving traffic.
Whereas big-box retailers formerly competed against each other in the same shopping centers, health-related businesses, including gyms, juice bars, quick-serve restaurants and even health clinics and weight management centers, are working together, co-marketing their services and goods to boost traffic and keep consumers and keep them there beyond their daily workouts. Despite the potential growth opportunities in these fitness-focused retail centers, property investors and tenants must also consider a long list of factors that can make or break the success of their ventures, including a property’s location, proximity to homes, offices and public transportation, and its existing demographic mix.
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