Original Article: Independent.IE
If you’re heading to London for Christmas shopping, there are a few ways to preemptively offset the effects of the Christmas pudding.
In the city of the Thames, sportswear brands like Lululemon, Reebok and Nike are offering free classes to their customers.
Lululemon provides a free yoga or fitness class on Sunday mornings in its Marylebone store in London, for example. Yoga mats are provided.
In Reebok’s Fit Hub in Covent Garden, it offers free evening classes like 'Gymbox’s Badass', 'Hardcore HIIT', and 'Contortion Yoga'.
These brands are expanding their focus and building relationships with their consumer, David Minton, a keynote speaker at tomorrow’s Ireland Active conference, told independent.ie.
"Some of the big brands are getting into fitness and offering it free of charge - people like Nike who are offering free runs. In Reebok, you can join one of their classes in the Fit Hub. Lululemon are offering free classes in their shops and they create studios in their shops. Sweaty Betty is a London brand and are offering free classes," he said.
"This is a new area where the brand is looking to create more of a relationship with the consumer."
How is this impacting the health and fitness industry, Minton asks.
"We don’t know yet because they’re trying to build a direct relationship with the consumer, not just sell them a kit."
According to Minton, the free classes aren’t just getting a big take-up. It’s also the boutique-style, higher end shops and gyms that are going from strength to strength.
"The biggest trend is in boutiques. I’m aware of the advertising that people like Ben Dunne do and how people are trying to provide lots of things for very little money. In London, we’re now going to the opposite extreme, low cost is amazingly successful, for people who are paying below 20 pounds per month. Now just imagine if people are paying 20 pounds per session or more," he said.
"There are new boutiques that are all expanding in the UK.
"They provide night club lighting, night club sound, better look facilities, and top instructors, and you feel you’ve had a top experience.
"Maybe some people are not having the Starbucks and instead having the experience."