Fitness: Did You Hear?...

Fire alarm at Super Show, National Retail Federation, NRF, Iron Grip, Fitter International, Kelly Lorincz, Big 5 Sporting Goods, ispo, NSGA, footwear, Bally, Bally Total Fitness, Yankelovich...
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>> At 11:40 a.m. on the first day of The Super Show, the fire alarms at the Sands Expo suddenly opened up with a piercing whooping screech. Most heads didn't even pop up, and no one made a move for the door. One exhibitor near the door said, after a couple of alarm whoops: "Hey that's the fire alarm," and waited for some kind of announcement. A few moments later, a voice over the intercom said staff was "investigating" and to stay tuned. Oh great, said the exhibitor, so what are they going to do when they find a fire burning us all down? THEN tell us to get out? Interestingly, the alarms stopped, business continued as usual -- but no further announcement came. That's Super show biz, eh?

>> Some companies actually conduct meetings while getting some exercise. Katherine Heaviside, president of Huntington, N.Y.-based, Epoch 5 Public Relations, has said she has one "health-conscious client" with whom she does "meetings on the run." That means she and her client walk or jog "as we go down the agenda," she said. SNEWS knows that some employees at the likes of Nike actually do meetings on the run, too. A great concept to incorporate into a company's own culture . If you're all about fitness and health, why not?

>> Custom-engraved Iron Grip free weights with the 24-Hour Fitness logo will start showing up in newly built 24 Hour Fitness clubs across the country.

>> The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported Jan. 17 that holiday retail sales in the GAFS category (general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliance stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores) rose 2.2 percent. A 2.2 percent increase is the smallest sales increase since NRF began tracking GAFS sales in 1992. The NRF initially projected that holiday sales would increase 4 percent, then downgraded that forecast to 3.5 percent on December 26. Holiday sales are defined as total retail sales in November and December.

>> A total of 20,000 Amer Group Plc shares have been subscribed for as a result of an exercise of its 1998 A/B warrants. The corresponding increase in the company's share capital amounting to Euro 80,000 (USD $85,385) was registered on Jan. 15. As a result of the increase, Amer Group Plc's share capital now totals Euro 96,864,080 (USD $103.38 million) and the total number of shares in issue is 24,216,020.

>> Kelly Lorincz is the new director of sales and marketing for balance product specialist Fitter International. Lorincz, formerly of Enmax Energy and Southam Publishing, started Jan. 2.

>> Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. (NASDAQ: BGFV) said Tuesday it has lowered its expectations for same store sales growth from October's announced "mid-single-digit range" to 0.4 percent and earnings per diluted share from the previously expected $0.42 to $0.44 for the fourth quarter to $0.38 to $0.40. Analysts for U.S. Bancorp then downgraded the company's rating to outperform from strong buy.

>> For the first time at Germany's ispo trade show, the fitness expo area will showcase a wellness and "balance" area. Exhibitors will include mind-body-oriented companies, sports medicine and wellness institutes. A seminar on the use of Feng Shui in stores will be held as a part of the exhibit, as well as one on nutrition events. For more, go to www.ispo.com.

>> Retail sales of footwear fell 4 percent for the six-month period, October 2001 to March 2002, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) reported. Sales for the six-month reporting period were $6.49 billion versus $6.75 billion for the same period the previous year. For the first half of the reporting year, the declines affected practically all of the 24 sport footwear categories surveyed.

>> Bally Total Fitness (NYSE: BFT) has said it will expand its current franchising efforts within Southeast Asia, launching new health clubs in Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The first of the facilities is slated to open as early as June 2003 in Taiwan. The new clubs will follow the same layout and decor of the Bally's health clubs located in the United States.

>> As we don't have enough guilt in our lives -- The Yankelovich Monitor in a survey released last week reported that 65 percent of American adults feel "guilty" about not exercising more. Advised the group: "Don't add to the guilt. Talk to the benefits. Talk to the ease of exercising regularly."

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