Fitness: Did you hear?…

RBC Capital sees good things for Nautilus, Everlast enters into licensing agreement for bags, Vision donates equipment to top achievers, Iron Grip expands manufacturing facility, and much more...
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For the week of June 21-27

>> Since RBC Capital had worked with Nautilus on the acquisition of Pearl Izumi, it wasn't allowed to do a report at that time about the purchase. Now, a week later, it's come out with what it called a "Q2 earnings preview," titled, "A good month ahead?" Wrote the RBC team headed up by analyst Edward Aaron, the report stated, "We see potential for positive news from Nautilus over the next month. This could include the announcement of new distribution in the retail channel and strong Q2 results." It also said that a sampling of The Sports Authority stores' anecdotal feedback showed "store-in-store" concepts showcase Nautilus product seemed positive. "Contacts commented that while difficult to quantify, the store-within-a-store concept generally resulted in increased visibility of Nautilus branded products and improved retail sell-through," the report stated. RBC also wrote that it continues to believe the company will achieve additional distribution gains, including some SKUs with Sears for the busy holiday season in the winter. RBC reiterated its 2005/06 EPS estimates of $1.21/$1.51. Even without having updated its model to include the Pearl Izumi acquisition, the firm increased its price target to $32 from $30 "to reflect strong business trends."

>> Everlast Worldwide has entered into a licensing agreement with New York City-based Sports Accessories Group to produce and market a line of Everlast men's, children's and unisex bags, including backpacks, sports bags, duffel bags, luggage and roll bags. The line, which is expected to launch this fall, will be sold through sporting goods retailers and department stores throughout the United States.

>> Vision Fitness had donated equipment to top achievers in the Wisconsin Governor’s Winter Challenge. The Winter Challenge, a 10-week program designed to inspire individuals to become more physically active by registering online at www.wisconsinchallenge.org, was kicked off at the Lussier Family YMCA in Madison just after Jan. 1, challenging those who made New Year’s Resolutions to have healthier habits to utilize the Governor’s Challenge web-based tracking tool. More than 6,000 Wisconsin citizens signed up, with more than 2,000 completing an award program.
The Winter Challenge follows last year’s Spring Challenge, which focused on Wisconsin schools and for which Vision Fitness also contributed equipment prizes. Since the challenge program’s inception in March of 2004, more than 25,000 citizens, working as individuals or in one of 670 groups, have registered. Thanks to programs such as this, Wisconsin made a seven-place jump (tied for best improvement in the nation) this year from the 21st to 14th healthiest state, according to annual reports.

>> Iron Grip Barbell Company has completed the first phase of a multi-year expansion to its manufacturing operations. The company has added new, automated CNC manufacturing equipment, as well as to its engraving operation. "Completing Phase 1 of our expansion has enabled us to expand not only our production capacity, but also our R&D capabilities," said Scott Frasco, CEO of Iron Grip, in a statement. "Our new facility … is also an indication of our reaffirmation of and commitment to US-based manufacturing." The company is moving toward a vertically integrated model.

>> By the year 2030, the number of mature adults in the United States is expected to double from 35 million to 70 million. Continuing Fitness, a California-based fitness brand, is preparing for the onslaught by launching the first complete line of fitness equipment geared specifically to the older adult market. Its flagship product, the Resistance Chair exercise system, is now available and will be followed by a home gym, ergonomic exercycles and accessories -- all designed to provide safe, low-impact methods for mature adults to build and maintain strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. The company said the Resistance Chair offers users a full body workout from a safe, comfortable seated position. Because users remain seated, they maintain balance and stability as they exercise the arms, chest, shoulders, abdomen, back and legs. www.continuingfitness.com

>> G.I. Joe's announced two promotions and a new buyer position. Shannon Burley was promoted to director of advertising and marketing from her position as interim advertising manager. She has been with the company since 2002 and will now direct its sales promotion, advertising, media, special promotions, events, marketing programs and store signing. She will continue to supervise both the advertising production department, graphics and sign shop. Reese Thedford, who has been with the company since 2002, was promoted to promotions manager, and will manage and coordinate all sponsorships, special promotions, store events and corporate events. Bob Leis, the current store manager of the G.I. Joe's Hayden Meadows store in Portland, Ore., will move to the chain's Wilsonville headquarters at the beginning of July.

>> TKO Holdings has entered into a licensing agreement with Avair Fitness Equipment for the use of the TKO brand name within the United States and Canada in connection with Avair's punch counting products including the ProShots Punch counter.

>> To leverage industry resources to introduce more Americans to the benefits of an active lifestyle, Outdoor Industry Foundation has launched Getting Americans Active, a database of outreach programs and initiatives designed to promote increased youth participation in outdoor recreation. Getting Americans Active is a searchable online database of more than 100 national, regional and local outreach programs that OIF said would benefit from local and national partnerships with companies and individuals in the outdoor industry. The database enables users to search for organizations focusing on 40+ recreational activities from outdoor pursuits like hiking, biking, camping and kayaking to traditional activities like swimming. It also connects businesses and individuals with educators, non-profit organizations and communities that are in need of volunteers, board members, gear and charitable donations. OIF said every program profiled in Getting Americans Active has been examined to ensure that it meets a strict set of guidelines and will be updated throughout the year. The database can be accessed at www.outdoorindustry.org.

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