We've hit a landmark with our fifth-annual eFitBiz by SNEWS® -- just released and ready for reading by clicking here. That's five years now of tallying and looking at specialty retail stores, changes, counts and plans. That's a renewed ability for additional perspective now that we have five years under our belt of a "top retailer" chart and our accompanying summary of changes at retail for the past calendar year.
We're sure you'll enjoy the look at 2007, including the summary of how the year shaped up at retail. In sum, it's getting harder to find 25 specialty fitness retailers who have five or more stores (we failed again this year). But compared to our first edition in 2004, the list this year, albeit shorter, ended up with about 160 more stores on it, meaning the top end of the list is getting heavier while the lower part is getting lighter.
Based on what we saw, however, none of the retailers, whether big or small, ended the last year with huge smiles and they were already bracing themselves in late 2007 for the economic squalls that arrived this year. The industry again avoided spectacular bankruptcies or acquisitions, but if you dig a little deeper you'll find some onesies and twosies that were bought up by another, or a few who simply shut their doors and left the industry.
Our list, per our standard, is ranked by numbers of stores. Before we hear again that this standard does not define "top," let us affirm to you that we know that. BUT it is the only concrete way of ranking retailers since no specialty retailer is public. Without public records, there is absolutely no way to solidly verify revenues or sales. Without having a number we at SNEWS® feel confident in, we won't list the stores that way. For apples to apples, we also did our short list of sporting goods and mass retailers in the same way. Right or wrong, it gets the job done, and we believe it still gets the retailers that count on a list. If anything at all is affected by this method, it's the lower half that may get shorted, i.e. some retailers with two to four doors who do good business and could deserve to be on the list or a few who are at the bottom who deserve to be higher. There are still a lot of mini-chains of three or four stores that do well since they keep their business tight and focused. We may try to do an extended list next year -- let us know if you think you should be on that and why.
Meanwhile, you won't want to miss this newest release. This 2008 fifth-annual edition of eFitBiz by SNEWS® is brought to you by SNEWS® (of course!), Afterburner Fitness, Bodyguard, Diamondback, Fitness Master, Health & Fitness Business Expo, SportsArt Fitness and Spri Products.
For the third year, it is again all-electronic so you can get it quickly and conveniently. We keep it compact, so if you want to print the issue that's also easy. If you view it online, we've also hot-linked our sponsors' advertisements so you can more easily learn more about the company or its products. Just click on the ad and off you go to its website in a pop-up window.
Our SNEWS® subscribers are also first in line to see eFitBiz when it's released: We won't send it out to others, post it online, or let a broader audience we send to know that it's available for another two to three weeks. You can also view past editions by clicking here and scrolling down to the eFitBiz editions you choose.
Don't forget to tell your friends that with their very own SNEWS® subscription, they can, as we say, Wake Up to Real News! -- just like you have. And pass the word too that our SNEWS® Freebie subscription program -- formerly only open to retail salespersons -- is now open to all qualified industry professionals. Click here to read about that new program , as well as what you get and its limitations. Click here to get in an application for a subscription, scrolling down to "Want a free subscription?"
Missed the link to eFitBiz? Click here to get to your copy of the latest edition.
Note:Retailers, the annual SNEWS® Retailer Survey is kicking into gear soon. Let your vote and voice count. Our 6th-annual survey will open by early April. If you have not been surveyed in the past or want to make sure you are included this year, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your store name and contact information (including email, phone and fax), as well as the name of the best single person to be in charge of responding to the survey for your business. Don't let you or your suppliers be left out.