Move Over, Peloton: 16.5 Million Reasons to Buy This Fitness Stock Instead – The Motley Fool

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Peloton Interactive (PTON -8.17%) just announced another terrible quarter to close out its 2022 fiscal year.
The maker of innovative exercise equipment, a darling on Wall Street during the depths of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, reported a year-over-year revenue decline of 28%, as well as a massive net loss of $1.2 billion, in its fiscal 2022 fourth quarter. The stock fell 18% on the day of the financial release and is down 70% on the year.
While Peloton’s intense struggles continue as management tries to implement a turnaround plan, a rival business is back to hitting its stride. Here’s why Planet Fitness (PLNT 0.08%), whose shares have climbed more than 200% over the past five years, might be the best fitness stock to buy right now. 
In the most recent quarter (ended June 30), Planet Fitness posted record quarterly sales of $224.4 million, up 63.5% compared to the prior-year period. And net income jumped a whopping 67.3%. This is outstanding by itself, but what’s even more eye-opening is that the business now counts an incredible 16.5 million members after adding 300,000 net new customers in the latest quarter.  
Planet Fitness was decimated during the worst of the pandemic as its gyms were temporarily shuttered due to safety restrictions. But this situation has changed, and the company is back in the full-on expansion mode that we saw prior to 2020. In the latest three-month period, 34 new locations opened, bringing the total count to 2,324 gyms.  
There are currently agreements in place to open more than 1,000 additional locations, a robust development pipeline. Management believes that the U.S. can one day have 4,000 Planet Fitness gyms, not including international expansion. This indicates a substantial growth runway in the years ahead. 
Huge amounts of government stimulus over the past several years, and particularly in response to the pandemic, has helped to cause the four-decade-high inflation we are seeing in the U.S. Consumers are having trouble paying for gas, food, rent, and other essentials, and this cost-conscious mentality can trickle down to other categories, including health and exercise. 
Thanks to its remarkable value proposition, with a gym membership costing as little as $10 per month, Planet Fitness is positioned well in the current macroeconomic climate. It’s an affordable option for people who — influenced by the pandemic — now emphasize their physical well-being more than ever before. 
Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness’s CEO, pointed out that during the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009, the company was able to add 1.1 million members and double its store count as consumers prioritized and sought out value. This past success bodes well for the company’s fortunes should another economic downturn happen. 
“We are confident based on past performance that we can not only survive but thrive in a high-inflation or possibly recessionary environment,” Rondeau said on the Q2 2022 earnings call. That 16.5-million-membership number is sure to keep rising.
While Planet Fitness’s business is firing on all cylinders — increasing revenue, members, and the store count at a healthy clip — its shares do not look like a bargain right now. The stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 105 and a price-to-sales multiple of nearly nine. Nonetheless, Planet Fitness appears to be a safer investment in the fitness industry than Peloton, which has undoubtedly received far more attention. 
Planet Fitness is a more stable and predictable business than Peloton. What’s more, it has been consistently profitable over the past decade while achieving rapid growth. And Wall Street analysts expect the same trends to continue as we look ahead. During the three-year period between 2022 and 2025, consensus estimates call for revenue and earnings per share to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% and 38%, respectively.
This optimism is probably fully priced into the stock today. But for investors looking to put some money to work, Planet Fitness is a top option when it comes to fitness stocks. I think practicing some patience and waiting for a pullback is the best move at the moment. 

Neil Patel has positions in Peloton Interactive. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Peloton Interactive and Planet Fitness. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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