We Are Sunshine

Dallas tanning chain acquires a 16-store rival chain

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Consolidation in the indoor tanning community continued this week as Dallas-based Planet Tan announced it had been acquired by crosstown rival Palm Beach Tan in a move that can be characterized as a major acquisition.

2008-11-20-major-acquisition-tanningnews-copy.jpgPlanet Tan — a mega-store chain which marketed itself as “Dallas first tanning Super Center” — claims on its web site to be the official tanning salon of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and several other Dallas cheerleader groups. The 16 stores each have more than 30 tanning units. Founder Tony Hartl, who started the chain in 1995, appeared on the cover of Tanning Trends magazine in September after being featured on the cover of Fortune Small Business magazine in June for his entrepreneurial innovation.

Planet Tan announced the move in a broadcast e-mail this week. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the sale of Planet Tan to Palm Beach Tan, a Dallas-based indoor tanning salon chain, effective November 17, 2008,” the letter said. “As a result, Planet Tan will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Palm Beach Tan. Under the leadership of founder Tony Hartl, Planet Tan has experienced great success and developed many positive relationships since it’s inception in 1995, leading to the opening of our sixteenth location this week.”

2008-11-20-hartl.jpgThe letter, from Planet Tan Director of Operations Bernie Beck, quoted Hartl as saying, “This merger will allow for the accelerated growth of the Planet Tan operating model, brand and culture, while maintaining the member experience we have delivered in the past. Given the consolidation we’re seeing in the tanning industry, this opportunity made sense in terms of joining forces with a national firm, and consequently expediting the future growth for Planet Tan and its Team Members.”

The acquisition is the latest for Palm Beach Tan, which acquired the 55-store, Washington-based Desert Sun Tanning chain in early 2007.

“We are pleased to be adding one of the most progressive tanning salon brands in the industry to the Palm Beach Tan family,” Diane Lucas, president and COO of Palm Beach Tan, said in a statement released this morning. “We believe that the combination of Planet Tan and Palm Beach Tan will result in exciting innovations and programs for our members.”

2008-11-20-pbt.jpgWith the acquisition of Planet Tan, the company reports that the Palm Beach Tan family of brands becomes the largest tanning salon chain in the nation by revenue. Palm Beach Tan operates 90 corporate owned locations in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Washington DC, and Las Vegas along with 171 franchised locations in more than 25 markets under the Palm Beach Tan brand name and as Desert Sun Tanning Salons in the Pacific Northwest and California.

“As the industry consolidates, Palm Beach Tan will continue to grow through internal salon expansion, franchise growth, and by acquiring the best regional chains in the nation,” said Lucas. “There is a great deal of talent in our industry. Every time we are able to add chains of the quality of Planet Tan, our brand and our members benefit.” During the next 12 months, Palm Beach Tan will operate Planet Tan as an independent brand, incorporating best practices of both concepts in an effort to continually improve the operating model of the company. In addition, Palm Beach Tan will add several Planet Tan key personnel to its management team to maintain the continuity of the Planet Tan brand.