Snap Fitness to Open Up to 100 Clubs in U.K.

The rapidly growing, Chanhassen-based fitness chain-which now has more than 1,300 franchised locations in six countries-plans to expand to the United Kingdom by opening up to 100 clubs there over the next five years.

Snap Fitness on Thursday announced plans to expand into the United Kingdom by opening 75 to 100 clubs there within the next five years.

The Chanhassen-based fitness chain currently has more than 1,300 franchised locations in six countries-the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

The expansion to the United Kingdom will begin with the greater London area, where Snap Fitness will open 10 locations by the end of the year. The first two London facilities will open in April and May.

“There is real opportunity for sector growth ahead, as more people see health and fitness as a necessity versus a luxury,” Snap Fitness CEO Peter Taunton said in a statement.

Citing the Fitness Industry Association, Snap Fitness said that the total market value of the United Kingdom health and fitness industry is up 4 percent from 2008.

Snap Fitness said that it's now seeking single- and multi-unit franchise owners to open new clubs across the United Kingdom. Translated to U.S. dollars, the average total investment required to open a franchise there roughly amounts to between $275,000 and $400,000.

Taunton founded Snap Fitness in 2003. Its clubs allow members to gain access around the clock and are designed to provide a smaller, more convenient alternative to larger health clubs. Facilities range in size from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and offer equipment that includes treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, weight machines, and free weights. Members pay monthly and can cancel their memberships at any time.

Snap Fitness' announcement about its expansion overseas comes at a time when its competitor, Hastings-based Anytime Fitness, is also expanding rapidly. Anytime-which has more than 1,800 clubs worldwide-said in January that it has expanded to the Middle East and that it opened nearly 300 clubs in numerous countries in 2011. Like Snap Fitness, Anytime franchises smaller clubs that are open 24-7.