Equinox partners with Kuwait's Alshaya for its Middle East debut

The upscale US gym whose clients have included former first lady Michelle Obama will first open in Dubai in late 2020

Dubai skyline seen from Deyaar properties on Business Bay.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

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US fitness brand Equinox Group is flexing its muscles with an expansion into the Middle East through a partnership with Kuwaiti retail conglomerate Alshaya Group.

Equinox will bring its three fitness chains: Equinox Fitness Clubs, SoulCycle and Blink Fitness to the region in its debut move, starting with Dubai in late 2020, Alshaya said on Tuesday. The partnership marks Alshaya's first foray into the fitness segment.

"We are very excited about our new partnership with Equinox Group, which marks an important new diversification of our business,” said Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya. "There is a growing demand in the region for innovative brands which reach beyond fitness and into health and well-being."

The Kuwaiti franchise operator Alshaya has about  90 global brands in its portfolio with a presence in the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe. Started in 1983, Alshaya now has franchises including Starbucks, H&M, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters, PF Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, The Body Shop, MAC, Victoria’s Secret, Boots, Pottery Barn and KidZania.

Equinox is an US upscale gym and indoor cycling chain, whose clients have included Hollywood celebrities and even former first lady Michelle Obama.

The company operates over 100 full-service clubs globally across US cities including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco as well as London, Toronto and Vancouver.