What happened

Shares of Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) climbed more than 12% on Thursday after the fitness center chain delivered strong third-quarter earnings. 

So what

Planet Fitness' revenue surged 46.4% year over year to $154.3 million. New store openings and a 7.2% rise in same-store sales helped the company pump out these impressive gains.

"We are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever," CEO Chris Rondeau said in a press release. "In the third quarter, we returned to positive systemwide same-store sales growth and achieved the highest sequential net member growth of any third quarter in company history."

People are exercising in a gym.

Image source: Getty Images.

Planet Fitness also showed a marked improvement in profitability as its gyms reopened. The company's adjusted net income improved to $22 million, or $0.25 per share, compared to $1.6 million, or $0.02 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Now what

These solid results and positive ongoing membership trends prompted Planet Fitness to offer a more optimistic full-year outlook. Management now expects:

  • Between 110 and 120 new store openings, compared to a previous forecast of 75 to 100.
  • Revenue of $570 million to $580 million, up from $530 million to $540 million.
  • Adjusted earnings per share of $0.75 to $0.80, up from $0.65 and $0.70.

Shareholders cheered the news. Planet Fitness' strong operational performance and heightened growth forecast helped to reduce fears that coronavirus-related concerns would drive people to exercise at home rather than in gyms.

Moreover, with vaccinations steadily increasing and COVID-19 case counts moderating, investors are growing more excited about Planet Fitness' stock -- and bidding up its share price in kind.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.