Arcapita — a Shariah-compliant alternative investments firm — has invested in NuYu, a chain of women-only boutique gyms in Saudi Arabia.
Arcapita’s capital will help NuYu deploy over SR250 million ($67 million) to grow its network of boutique gyms from seven to over 30 across the Kingdom. The new centers are expected to create hundreds of jobs, as well as provide women access to fitness outlets in currently underserved locations.
The investment will enable the company — with five boutique gyms in Riyadh and one each in both Alkhobar and Dammam — to capitalize on the significant market opportunity arising from a landmark decision by the General Sports Authority to grant licenses for women’s boutique gyms. This follows recent legislation allowing Saudi women to drive, and to engage in public sporting events. From a base of over 50 facilities nationwide, the women’s fitness market in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent over the medium term.
Atif A. Abdulmalik, Arcapita’s chief executive, said: “We look forward to working in partnership with NuYu, helping it realize its full potential during this exciting period of social change. The investment in NuYu is underpinned by robust fundamentals and demonstrates our confidence in the long-term growth prospects of Saudi Arabia’s sport and leisure industry. It is also aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals of empowering women and for citizens to lead healthy and active lifestyles.”
Princess Sara Al-Saud, NuYu’s co-founder and creative director, said: “We are delighted to partner with Arcapita to guide NuYu’s next chapter of growth. We have been at the forefront of the fitness industry since our establishment with a boutique offering that focuses on high-energy group classes in a welcoming environment. With support from Arcapita, we are excited to be able to accelerate our expansion plans and grow our 6,000-strong membership base. Launching new boutique gyms across the country will make it easier for Saudi women to access fitness and reap the benefits of regular exercise.”
Martin Tan, Arcapita’s chief investment officer, said: “The female fitness segment in Saudi Arabia is virtually untapped with a penetration rate of less than one percent, while having one of the highest revenues per member globally. Given Saudi Arabia’s young and growing population, combined with rising health awareness in the Kingdom, there is significant potential for outsized growth within this highly underserved segment.”