Weight Watchers moves to high street with 'superstores' in the UK

For years, devotees of the Weight Watchers point system have gathered in church halls and community centers. But now the company is moving to the high street and opening a chain of “superstores,” announced this week and designed with the modern working women in mind.

Coined the "Lifestyle Centre," the new slimming store has launched in Reading, the first opening in the UK, offering people one-on-one consultation sessions, quick “weigh-ins,” and an array of Weight Watchers branded food products and takeaway meals, such as wraps, sandwiches, and mini-cookies, in addition to company-approved cookbooks and magazines.

“We are constantly broadening our weight-loss support services and tools to meet the changing needs of consumers,” said Chris Stirk, director of products, in a statement.

“With many of us working longer hours and demanding a more personalised, flexible service, we continue to adapt and enhance our products and services to meet the needs of the community.”

Weightwatchers already has stand-alone stores in the US, Australia, and China, with future UK shops potentially coming soon to London, Birmingham, and Leeds.

Diet brand competitor Jenny Craig, which operates diet centers in the US, the UK, and Australia, also recently expanded to France (with 33 percent of its population reported to be overweight), while adjusting its menu to French tastes, such as offering beef bourguignon and chicken chasseur.