ATLANTA — The Lady of America Franchise has acquired Ladies Workout Express, the Atlanta-based chain of 88 women-only fitness centers, for $1 million. The merger, originally agreed upon in terms in mid-2001, now makes the Lady of America Franchise Corp. the world's largest chain of full-service, women's-only fitness clubs with more than 500 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom, according to the company.

Under the terms of the merger, all Ladies Workout Express locations will continue to operate under their original name and the combined 1 million members of both clubs will be able to use both facilities.

With franchise sales rising from 20 per month on average in late 2000 to 50 per month on average since late 2001, news of the merger has acted as a catalyst, according to the privately owned and rapidly expanding franchiser.

“The acquisition of Ladies Workout Express has and will prove to be an excellent strategic move,” says Roger Wittenberns, chief executive officer of Lady of America Franchise Corp. “We have been experiencing tremendous growth in the number of Lady of America and Ladies Workout Express locations across the globe, and we continue to add more variables to our corporate support system that makes franchising with Lady of America the most viable option for anyone interested in owning their own fitness franchise.”