Fitness: Did you hear?...

The Fitness Experience staff has baseball cards, Germany's youth likes to hang rather than do sports, Federal court still not ruled in Nautilus-Icon case over Bowflex infringement, Satellite feed from fitness show hits dozens of TV markets, and more...
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>> In another way to personalize its staff members to customers, salespeople at The Fitness Experience stores will stop using business cards. Nope, no more of those boring little cards. Instead, a la popular police cards, the staffers will handout mini-baseball-cards -- complete with a number and a large photo on the front and little personal info on the back. Retail buyer Joel Ragdale's reads, for example: "Joel's favorite activities include spending time with his wife and children, Judo and weight-lifting." It even lists his kids' names and where he was born as well as of course full contact info and his hire date. We like this personalization of the staff!

>> According to data published by Germany's sport+mode trade magazine recently, sports and fitness activities aren't doing so well in that country among youth. All youth between the ages of 13 and 30 answered a survey by a youth communication agency saying that No. 1, they like to meet up with friends (66.4 percent), laying around doing nothing took the third spot (52.9 percent), while taking part in sports didn't show up until the fifth place (with a lowly 37.4 percent). Among boys alone, sport also came up fifth but with 41.4 percent. Among girls alone, sport activities didn't show up until ninth with 33.3 percent. Nothing else on the list was movement oriented, but all about hanging out, listening to music, going to movies, fiddling on the Internet and other such things.

>> If you were wondering about a ruling by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in the case over alleged patent infringement by Icon with its Crossbow as charged by Nautilus? Just keep wondering. For now. Two weeks after Nautilus filed its argument against the stay issued by the federal court on the prelim injunction handed out by the district court that would have put a freeze on all things Crossbow, the court is still silent on the matter, as of the end of the day Aug. 25. OK, this can take awhile, especially in August with vacations and all, but Icon's Brad Bearnson still called this an "emergency motion" with "some urgency." Parties are of course waiting with bated breath.

>> Speaking of Nautilus, we forgot to mention that the new Multi-Weight Dumbbell System called SelectTech rolled out by Nautilus at the Health & Fitness Business Expo -- although a concept patented by another -- really took a huge amount of work by Nautilus engineers. So much so that the company actually has its own patents pending on it, including on the locking mechanism. We would be remiss not to mention this. Of course, we weren't actually told this amid all the excitement at the show either.

>> Back to the HF Biz show in Denver: Did you happen to arrive early and see a TV filming going on? That would have been the affable and rather hyper Patrick Netter, aka The Gear Guru, who had six companies sign up for filming about their products, promising 20 airings around the country. As of late last week, he says the shows have already gotten 20 airings with 39 individual stations. The companies that took part (yes, they did pay to do this) were: Nautilus, Vectra, ProSpot Fitness, Chameleon Gym, Salton WalkMill and SPRI Products. You think this was easy, yakking at the camera for a few minutes. All the companies involved, Netter, and his crew started filming in the expo hall at about 4 a.m. the first day of the show and wrapped it all up an hour or so before the show opened. A lot of bleary-eyed people that day, to be sure.

>> Bally Total Fitness (NYSE: BFT) has appointed Martin Pazzani as chief marketing officer. Pazzani will be responsible for leading the fitness giant's global branding efforts, as well as overseeing all consumer, enterprise and partnership marketing initiatives, and will report to Chairman and CEO Paul Toback. Prior to joining Bally, Pazzani ran a marketing consultancy firm, which he founded following six years at Foote, Cone & Belding in New York City.

>> Crunch Fitness, in partnership with Nikon, is looking for photos that people think represent its "No Judgements" philosophy. (Ed. Note: They spell it like that although it's supposed to be spelled without at E, as in Judgment, but maybe nobody has ever told them that, and it does drive us nuts here at SNEWS.) The contest, which runs through Sept. 15, challenges contestants to send in their pictures. The Grand Prize winner will be trained by Nikon's best before traveling to Iceland with their new Nikon Coolpix 5400 digital camera to serve as a photojournalist for Crunch Magazine, and the winner's series of photographs will be featured in the November issue of the club's magazine. For information about the contest or to submit your photos digitally, please visit the "No Judgements" (sic) website at www.crunch.com by Sept. 15. The winner will be announced Oct. 1.

>> Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) has reported sales and earnings results for the second quarter ended Aug. 2, 2003, with net income having increased 32 percent to $15.5 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, compared to $11.7 million or $0.61 per diluted share, respectively for the quarter ended a year ago. Earnings per share increased at a lower rate than net income due to an increase in shares resulting from the company's IPO. Total sales for the quarter increased 14 percent to $353.5 million. Comparable store sales increased 1.5 percent. One analyst said that it was disappointing the company would only show full-fiscal-year earnings of about $1.95, three cents shy of Wall Street's current estimate. "DKS is not yet an optionable equity, but it has recently captured the attention of short-sellers. The number of shorted DKS shares increased by 82 percent over the last reporting period to 1.07 million, for a short-interest ratio of more than two times," the analyst said. Details at www.dickssportinggoods.com.

>> Galyan's Trading Company Inc. (Nasdaq: GLYN) has announced for the second quarter ended Aug. 2, 2003, a GAAP net loss of $186,000, or a loss of $0.01 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared with net earnings of $3.9 million, or $0.22 per share on a fully diluted basis in the prior year's second fiscal quarter. The 2003 six-month net loss was $2.8 million, compared with net earnings of $3.5 million, or $0.20 per share on a fully diluted basis, as reported for the same period last year. Gross margin decreased to 27.2 percent of net sales for the second quarter of 2003 versus 30.1 percent in the 2002 second quarter. "The second quarter proved to be a difficult operating environment, impacted by a weak economy, a highly promotional environment and the effects of unfavorable weather in our East and Midwest markets," said CEO Robert B. Mang in an official statement.

>> Is work-life balance affecting you? You aren't the only one, according to recent surveys of company executives. When asked how ambitious they feel about their professional careers, 40 percent of respondents said they were extremely ambitious, 51 percent said somewhat ambitious, and 9 percent answered that they were not very ambitious. When asked how ambitious they were two years ago, 69 percent (more than 50 percent more!) of respondents said they were extremely ambitious, while 28 percent said somewhat. Of note: Based on respondents by company size, the highest percentages for "extremely ambitious" executives and managers are in companies with 500 to 2,500 employees. In companies with 500-999 employees, "extreme" ambition went from 79 percent two years ago to 37 percent today. In companies with 1,000-2,499 employees, the extreme ambition went from 86 percent two years ago to 38 percent today. Not very ambitious folks were mostly from the companies with more than 10,000 employees. Two comments from respondents to the survey by the Net Future Institute: "Having a child took a lot of the drive out of my ambition. It opened my eyes to what is truly important in my life. Although I have continued to move up the ladder, I have reservations of going further. Those that are above me work 24x7 and the politics are fierce. I don't find the game attractive anymore. I get more satisfaction out of 'Green Eggs and Ham'." Said another: "I have less interest in ambition the more it compromises my work/life balance." And, in regard to balance: "Today, not only is the balance with work and with personal/home/family life off-kilter, but because of mobile technology and remote connectivity, the boundaries of home life and work get blurred and even merge. Sometimes this can be helpful, but often it means that people are spending more time for work on their personal time (or being on call) because the economic conditions and competition continue to drive such measures." Said another: "The difficulty comes in how you define 'balance.' A workaholic may define 'extremely balanced' as working 80 hours a week." And, lastly, "Life is too short. I believe that people need to step back in this fast-paced worked environment and analyze what is really important to them -- that being personal, home and family life."

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