A new set of retailers for Life Fitness announced Oct. 31 will allow the company to regain traction in areas where it was formerly in an exclusive arrangement with FHI’s Omni and Busy Body stores.
As reported by SNEWS® in late August, discussions with the retailers began in about mid-summer after FHI’s communication with Life Fitness stopped and Life Fitness knew it needed to fill the vacuum that was created in key markets. On Oct. 20, FHI filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy reorganization. (Click here to see that Oct. 21, 2008, SNEWS® story.)
The new Life Fitness distribution model, in contrast to the norm in the industry, has some retailers in non-exclusive distribution agreements, Tim Wild, vice president of the consumer business, told SNEWS®.
SNEWS wrote about the distribution changes at that time (click here to read that Aug. 29, 2008, SNEWS story, "Life Fitness’ new distribution strategy opens more retailers in East and West."), but Life declined comment about the developing strategy. "We’re comfortable now that enough people are in place to make this announcement," Wild said about the reason to release the news now.
The 15 retailers are mostly small ones, some with only one or two stores but come to a total of 41 doors in former Omni or Busy Body strongholds. They include: Fitness Showrooms, New York; Precision Fitness, Massachusetts; HealthStyles, Colorado; Pacific Fitness, Las Vegas, Nev.; Fitness Outlet, Sacramento, Calif., and Seattle, Wash.; AtHome Fitness, Arizona; FitChix, Arizona; Cape Cod Fitness, Hyannis, Mass.; Treadmill Outlet, Redwood City, Calif.; Bring it Home Fitness, Fresno, Calif.; Fitness Mart and Fitness Direct, San Diego, Calif.; Specialty Fitness, Northridge, Calif., Fitness Concept, San Rafael, Calif.; and Sunshine Sports, Alaska.
SNEWS® View: Life Fitness had to take steps quickly to fill channels that had gone dark when FHI "went radio dark," as we heard it described, over the summer, which is clear now because it was struggling and likely planning the bankruptcy filing. We expect Life Fitness will find other ways, also quickly, to fill even more gaps.