Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) hit new all-time highs last week, and at least one Wall Street pro sees the fast-growing gym operator moving even higher. Berenberg is initiating coverage of Planet Fitness with a buy rating and a $53 price target.
Berenberg's calling Planet Fitness one of the more unique operators in the fitness center space. The claim may be a bit of a stretch since there are plenty of discounters out there following the Planet Fitness model and offering frills-free memberships starting at roughly $10 a month, but Planet Fitness is definitely the chain making the most of folks looking for a bargain-priced gym that lacks the sometimes intense workout culture.
Working those reps
Planet Fitness is rolling. Revenue soared 33% in its latest quarter, fueled by brisk expansion -- nearly 200 fitness centers have opened over the past year -- and a jaw-dropping 11.1% spike in comps. Unit-level growth isn't a fluke. Comparable-gym sales have risen for 45 quarters in a row. Between the growth in memberships and folks stepping up to pay more for the higher-priced monthly plan with more perks, Planet Fitness is hitting on all cylinders.
There are now 1,565 locations across the country, and the appeal to mainstream consumers -- folks that would rather pay $10 a month for access to a well-maintained collection of exercise equipment than shell out more than $50 a month for traditional gyms with fitness centers, smoothie bars, and day care options.
Berenberg's price target of $53 stands as the highest among the handful of analysts tracking the stock, but with the stock now just 16% away from the high-water mark -- and already above many of the earlier goals set by bullish Wall Street pros earlier -- it may not last. It wouldn't be a surprise if more analysts lift their price goals to keep pace with the rising stock unless they downgrade the shares on valuation concerns.
The scalable model is working. Planet Fitness sees revenue and adjusted income rising 20% and 40%, respectively, this year. It's one of the few clear-cut winners of the retail apocalypse, stepping up for great leases on strip mall spaces vacated by dying superstore concepts.
A lot of things can go wrong. Fitness trends can change. A new discount darling can emerge on the scene, because disruptors get disrupted, too. However, with momentum on the side of Planet Fitness and explosive growth on both ends of the income statement, it's hard to bet against a consumer-facing company with 45 consecutive quarters of positive comps. Planet Fitness is doing things right, armed with a stock price that has nearly tripled since going public three years ago.