Fitness: Did you hear?...

YJ USA suing Icon for breach of contract, adidas gets requests for nonexistent shoe, CPSC recalls Jumpking trampolines, At Home Fitness plans second store in Phoenix area, plus much more...
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For Jan. 25-Feb. 7

>> Life Fitness has eliminated the PR manager's job and with it Tracey Budz, the current PR diva. Her last day was Jan. 27. Budz says she wants to stay in PR so keep an eye open for her in the fitness industry.

>> In a recent lawsuit, Icon has been sued by the company YJ USA for breach of contract and lack of payment for delivered goods, specifically in this case for the terminated Jumpking division. The alleged breach dates back to negotiations that began in 2001 when Icon according to the complaint negotiated with YJ to manufacture and deliver parts for Jumpking to its Texas facility but would invoice Utah headquarters. YJ claims that between mid-2001 and 2004, it delivered $25 million of goods, for which Icon paid. Outstanding, however, YJ says is an invoice for $2.18 million for goods delivered between June and September 2004. In September, Icon announced the discontinuation of the Jumpking division. YJ is asking the court in its January claim for full payment plus 9 percent annual interest and its other costs, and is requesting a jury trial. The case, filed with the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., is set to have discovery completed by May and a resolution report and pre-trial order by June.

>> Fans of the film "The Life Aquatic" have swamped adidas with requests to buy the Zissou shoe, which is worn in the movie by Team Zissou, a group of undersea explorers. But there's a problem. The shoe only exists in the film. With blue stripes, bright yellow laces and the word "Zissou" stitched on the side, the shoe does not really exist in the adidas line. The Zissou, made specifically for the movie, is actually an updated version of the adidas ROM training sneaker, made in 1959. Despite the flood of calls -- and the emergence of websites offering custom-made versions of the shoe -- adidas may never mass produce the Zissou. "In this case, the buzz and association achieved with a film like 'The Aquatic Life' and the Team Zissou shoe is more valuable than the commercial aspects of an actual production run for sales," said Traci Morlan of adidas.

>> The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said Jumpking Inc. is voluntarily recalling one million trampolines and 296,000 "FunRing" enclosures sold separately and with Jumpking trampolines. Welds on the frame of these trampolines can break during use, resulting in falls and possible injuries. Additionally, the mounting brackets of the FunRing enclosures have sharp edges, which can cause lacerations. SNEWS® reported Oct. 12, 2004, that Icon Health & Fitness had discontinued all aspects of its JumpKing trampoline subsidiary. Icon said it would no longer manufacture, market or distribute JumpKing trampolines "as a result of management's continuing review of its business strategies, plans and operations." Jumpking has received 47 reports of one or more welds breaking on these trampolines, resulting in 21 reports of a variety of injuries. It also received 12 reports of other incidents, including nine reports of serious lacerations, when children came into contact with the sharp edges of the enclosure brackets. The recall includes 14-foot and 15-foot Jumpking trampolines sold separately and with FunRing enclosures. The brand name "Jumpking, Inc." is written on a warning label wrapped around a leg of the trampoline. The eight legs of these trampolines fit into perpendicular sockets welded to the top rails. Trampolines with weldless sockets that fit over the connecting top rail pieces are not included in this recall. The FunRing enclosures have an arched design where the vertical poles are connected by arches at the top. Some enclosures were sold separately from the trampolines. The trampolines and enclosures were manufactured in the United States and China. Later units, that include the rubber sleeves that fit around the mounting brackets, are not included in the recall. The trampolines with enclosures were sold nationwide and in Canada from July 1999 through December 2003. Trampolines without FunRing enclosures were sold from July 1999 through February 2004. The CPSC said consumers should stop using the trampolines and enclosures, and contact Jumpking to receive free repair kits. Contact Jumpking at 866-302-8669 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. To view a picture of the trampolines and enclosures, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05092.html.

>> If you are planning to attend the 41st annual NSGA Management Conference and seventh annual Team Dealer Summit, you can still get an early bird discount until Feb. 15. For more information, email info@nsga.org or call 800-815-5422, ext. 130. The conference is May 22-25 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz.

>> The U.S. Census Bureau's Monthly Retail Trade Survey reported preliminary sales in sporting goods stores of $2.33 billion for November, the most recent reporting month, up 7.4 percent from the $2.12 billion in November 2003. The increase follows a 9.1 percent increase in October. Year-to-date sales through November were $25.05 billion, up 7.9 percent from the first 11 months of 2003. Sporting goods store sales for all of 2003 were $26.82 billion, a 1.5 percent decline versus 2002.

>> Remember 20 years ago it was all about 20-minute workouts that over the years grew to two hours or more? Now we're back to 20 minutes with companies like 21 Minute Convenience Fitness, which is planning to pursue multiple franchise locations in the western United States and beyond. It uses the 21 Fatigue Intensity Training methods for its workouts, an adaptation of the slow movement strength-training program. Described as the ultimate in "convenience" fitness, the company guarantees results with a coach-supervised, 21-minute, once- or twice-a-week total body workout, performed in street clothes. For more information, visit www.21minutefitness.com.

>> Don't forget that Feb. 9 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day and this year's theme is "More than a Game." Chartered in 1986 by the U.S. Congress, it is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements of girls and women in sports and encouraging participation in all physical activities.

>> At Home Fitness is close to completing a deal to build a new showroom in Chandler, Ariz. -- the second store of four planned stores in the Phoenix-area suburbs. Its first store in Scottsdale is on the corner of 70th Street and Shea Boulevard where three of the four corners are occupied by specialty fitness retailers. At Home Fitness said that the future Chandler location will give the people of the East Valley a closer place to buy quality home exercise equipment without having to go all the way to Tempe or Scottsdale. The exact location will be announced as soon as the deal is signed.

>> The Associated Press reported that a German court has ordered Nike to stop selling its workout pants that have two parallel stripes stitched along the seam. adidas filed the suit because it claimed the lines in the Nike product infringed on its trademark. In the AP report, adidas officials said the court could fine Nike up to Euro 1 million (USD $1.3 million). Nike spokeswoman Joani Komlos told the AP that the company might appeal the decision.

>> Everlast Worldwide announced licensing agreements that will land the Everlast brand on bags, wallets, eyewear and, yes, even boxing equipment. The company Peepers in Hamilton, Ontario, will produce sports and fashion bags, duffels, luggage, wallets and backpacks. IOM Eyewear, based in Hong Kong, will produce Everlast eyewear to be distributed in Hong Kong's Optical 88 stores and throughout Asia. SPIRIS, a company in Seoul, South Korea, will expand its relationship with Everlast to include boxing equipment to be sold at retail store in South Korea.

>> This Valentine's Day give your sweetie a gift that goes straight to the heart. A new book, "Health in Heartbeat, " offers a six-week program to build emotional and physical fitness. Written by psychotherapist Dan Rudd and pro triathlete Sally Edwards, it helps readers discover their motivations, teaches them how to use a heart rate monitor, and explains concepts like "optional suffering" and "pre-mature worry." The 138-page paperback retails for $18.95.

>> Curves International announced that is partnering with the Cooper Institute to offer its franchise owners a special certification in weight management. The program, designed specifically for Curves, educates people on kinesiology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition and weight management. To obtain certification, franchise owners must attend the Curves Club Camp where they learn how to establish and run a successful Curves franchise. They must also complete a college-level course in kinesiology, or an equivalent course; complete a college-level course in general nutrition; and apply for the Cooper Institute Circuit Training and Weight Management Certification. The Cooper Institute certifies more than 6,000 health and fitness professionals worldwide each year.

>> According to Fitness Made Simple, reports of the disappearance of fitness celebrity John Basedow in Phuket, Thailand, after the Dec. 26 tsunami have proved false. The Fitness Made Simple website said false news releases made their way around the Internet and the company is investigating to find out who concocted the misleading story. The website message included: "We at Fitness Made Simple would like to let you know that John is safe and sound at home here in the United States working on finishing our brand new half hour infomercial…"

>> With the New Year comes a desire for a new job and a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 47 percent of retail workers are looking, motivated by a desire for higher compensation, a lighter workload and better career advancement opportunities. The "Retail Workers 2005" survey also found that 48 percent of retail workers say they do not look forward to going to work each day with more than half stating their paychecks are not providing enough incentive. Dissatisfaction with pay rose from 50 percent in August to 54 percent in this survey. Seventy-eight percent of retail workers say they did not receive a bonus in 2004 and 46 percent have not received a salary boost. Of those who did get a raise, more than one-third reported it was 3 percent or less. Workers said their workloads have increased and more than two-thirds said they had risen significantly in the last six months, with 35 percent saying they struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance. The pressure to meet the demands of their customers, employers and families has left 48 percent feeling excessive stress on the job. Retail workers were also concerned about career advancement at their current employers, with 4-in-10 reporting challenges with moving up the company ladder and one-fourth being overlooked for a promotion. On the flip side, in another survey by CareerBuilder.com, 1-in-5 retail hiring managers said diverse candidates will make up 25 percent or more of their new hires in the first quarter 2005. They also reported difficulty in finding diverse employees, as 36 percent of retail workers don't market themselves as diverse candidates. CareerBuilder.com commissioned SurveySite for the Retail Workers 2005 survey, which was conducted from Nov. 22, 2004, to Dec. 2, 2004, with input from more than 360 retail workers.

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