Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) reported fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 26. Strong gym-level operating results are enticing people to open more locations, which, in turn, is driving the company's sales and profits sharply higher.
Planet Fitness results: The raw numbers
Adjusted net income
Data source: Planet Fitness Q4 2018 earnings press release .
What happened with Planet Fitness this quarter?
Planet Fitness' incredible consistency was on full display in the fourth quarter. The gym chain saw its systemwide same-store sales surge 10.1%, marking its 48th straight quarter of positive comps.
This strong growth is attracting entrepreneurs in droves. Franchisees opened 98 new stores in the fourth quarter and a total of 230 in 2018, bringing Planet Fitness' total store count to 1,742 locations at year's end.
CEO Chris Rondeau sees long runways for growth. "I am confident that we have the right franchisees in place to more than double our U.S. presence and attract more casual and first time gym users to our welcoming, non-intimidating fitness offering, and do it in a manner that generates increased value for our shareholders over the long-term," Rondeau said in the press release.
Planet Fitness' "judgment-free" gyms cater to a wide range of fitness buffs. Image source: Getty Images.
In all, Planet Fitness' new gym openings and robust same-store sales growth drove a 30% spike in revenue to $174.4 million.
Moreover, the company's margins are improving as it expands its store base. Adjusted EBITDA jumped 21.6% to $62.3 million, while adjusted net income soared 38.2% to $32.5 million, or $0.34 per share.
Planet Fitness issued a financial forecast for 2019, including:
- Total revenue growth of approximately 15%.
- High-single-digit systemwide same-store sales growth.
- Adjusted net income growth of approximately 18%.
- Adjusted earnings-per-share growth of approximately 25%.
The company's EPS growth will be positively impacted by stock buybacks . "The board of directors is also extremely confident in our future evidenced by the decision to increase our buyback authorization to $500 million last August, which we acted on aggressively through [a] $300 million accelerated share repurchase program we entered into in November," Rondeau said during a conference call with analysts.
Rondeau also highlighted several factors that should continue to fuel Planet Fitness' expansion: "From our group of experienced franchisees who are eager to expand their footprints to increasingly favorable real estate trends, our growing national and local advertising budgets and our initiatives aimed at enhancing the member experience, we believe there are tremendous opportunities to build on our recent accomplishments."
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Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Planet Fitness. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .