With its welcoming atmosphere and friendly culture, Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) continues to win favor among first-time gym users. It's a massive and still largely untapped market, and one that's helping to fuel strong increases in sales and profits for the popular fitness center chain.

Planet Fitness results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q4 2017

Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$134.028 million

$116.419 million

15%

Adjusted EBITDA

$51.199 million

$44.146 million

16%

Adjusted EPS

$0.24

$0.20

20%

Data source: Planet Fitness Q4 2017 earnings press release.

What happened with Planet Fitness this quarter? 

Planet Fitness' systemwide same-store sales rose an incredible 11.6%, marking the 11th straight year of positive comp growth. This comes even as the company continues to grow its store count at a solid clip; 88 new Planet Fitness stores were opened in the fourth quarter. Together, this helped drive total revenue higher by 15.1%, to $134 million.

Two men exercising at a gym

Planet Fitness is enjoying strong comp growth as exercise enthusiasts of all ages flock to its gyms. Image source: Getty Images.

 

"Our business has continued to accelerate, which is a testament to the growing strength of our brand and the appeal of our affordable, non-intimidating fitness offering, especially with casual and first-time gym users," CEO Christopher Rondeau said in a press release. "With the addition of 1.7 million net new members and a record 210 new store openings systemwide in 2017, we've continued to build on our leading market share position through effective national and local advertising programs and expanding our geographic footprint in new and existing markets."

Moreover, Planet Fitness continues to grow more profitable as it expands. Compared to the prior-year quarter, adjusted EBITDA jumped 16% to $52.2 million. Adjusted net income leapt 19.1% to $23.5 million. And adjusted earnings per share, which were positively impacted by share repurchases, increased 20% to $0.24.

Looking forward

Planet Fitness issued a financial forecast for 2018, including:

  • Total revenue growth of approximately 20%
  • Systemwide same-store sales growth in the "high single digit percentage range"
  • Adjusted net income and adjusted EPS growth of approximately 40%

Planet Fitness also announced an $80 million increase to its share repurchase program, bringing the total authorized amount to $100 million.

"We begin the New Year with great brand momentum and numerous opportunities to further grow our business in the near and long-term, including significant store development opportunities, increased brand and marketing investments, and using technology to enhance member experiences," added Rondeau.

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Planet Fitness. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.