Fitness: Did you hear?...

Changing sales team members at Fitness Gallery, SportsArt and Precor; Business Week calls Technogym one of "Europe's Hidden Champions;" Icon records net sales gains and strong strength sales; remember DP? It's back; and of course much more…
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>> Former Fitness Gallery Sales Manager Bob Lachniet is the new western regional and Canadian sales representative for SportsArt America as of mid-January. At SportsArt, Lachniet replaces Terry Provonsha, who left SportsArt to return to Precor where he had worked previously. Provonsha is now an outside sales representative for Precor's commercial sales division.

>> Everlast Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: EVST), manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods and apparel under the Everlast brand name, has announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Taipei, Taiwan-based, Joint Power for the launch of Everlast-branded footwear, apparel and sports bags for the country of Taiwan.

>> A special feature on BusinessWeek Online dated Jan. 26 focuses on what the publication calls, "Europe's Hidden Champions." On the list is none other than Technogym, based in Gambettola, Italy. In the article the company says it has sights set on an acquisition in the United States to help it edge past leader Life Fitness. The article begins: "Technogym founder Nerio Alessandri muscled his way to No. 2 in the global market for fitness equipment by pumping his exercise machines full of electronic intelligence. Trained in college as an industrial designer, Alessandri's career took an unexpected turn when the 21-year-old casually offered to improve on a piece of gym equipment at a local fitness center in Cesena, near Bologna. After a year of cobbling together smoother, better-designed machines out of his garage on nights and weekends, the Italian entrepreneur launched his own line of equipment under the name Technogym in 1983." The article goes on to explain some of the technical features the still privately held company pioneered. It also notes that sales have nearly doubled over the past four years, reaching $269 million in 2003 -- what the magazine calls "roughly 12 percent of the market." Profits for the year are estimated at $32 million, the article says. To read the whole article, click here.

>> GERMANY -- Karstadt is to Germany what Macy's is to the United States -- with one difference: Since late last fall the department store and catalog company now runs fitness clubs called, understandably, "Karstadt Fitness." The company in November acquired nine former 24 Hour Fitness Clubs and has plans to add more, naming six for 2004 as a goal. So far, equipment in the clubs includes the likes of strength-specialist Gym 80, Precor, Schwinn, Reebok, and sports nutrition company Inko. Together the nine clubs have about 26,000 active members and 400 employees. With 2.5 million customer contacts with Karstadt in 2002, the company also thinks it can use some of these to help grow the clubs. As a part of its growth plan, Karstadt looks at figures out of Germany that show about 5.1 million people train in about 5,800 fitness clubs or studios. In addition, surveys show that the volume in the German market of about 3.3 billion Euros (more than about USD $4 billion) places it as the second-largest in the world.

>> With strong sales of strength-training equipment (up 25.9 percent), Icon Health & Fitness reported increased net sales for its second quarter ended Nov. 29, 2003, of 13.4 percent to $331.8 million. Sales in the previous year's comparable period were $292.7 million. Cardiovascular equipment sales and those of other equipment increased 11 percent. Net income for the three-month period ended Nov. 29, 2003, was $15.4 million, compared to a net income of $13.7 million for the three-month period ended Nov. 30, 2002. Net income before taxes for the three-month period was $24.5 million, compared to a net income before taxes of $22.0 million for the period. EBITDA for the three-month period was $36.8 million, or 11.1 percent of net sales, compared to $32.7 million, or 11.2 percent of net sales, for the period. To find the entire report on the SEC website, click here

>> A few last notes from The Super Show: The DP name is back (for whatever that's worth). CEM Global LLC has bought the rights to use the name, Rolando Valdes told SNEWS®. The company has been selling its Gymmaster line in Wal-Marts across Puerto Rico and Mexico for years, and hopes the DP name will help land it some doors in the United States. The company specializes in "opening price point" equipment. On a last note, we hope no other shows get the big idea to put their massive floor maps on plans that you can't begin to read. No, no, it's not just aging eyes, so get over that one. SNEWS saw 20-somethings staring at the maps at doors and grumbling that you couldn't begin to read the booth numbers.

>> According to The Leisure Trends group, sports and fitness activities are on the upturn. The two most popular activities were walking (31 percent) and exercising (18 percent). Each reached rare levels of activity, boosted by participants age 45 and older (45 percent and 21 percent, respectively). In addition, the group says that Gen Y continues to favor exercise along with team and alternative sports. Those ages 16-24 are among the most likely joggers, runners and weightlifters. SNEWS View: It's hard for us to believe the numbers that Leisure Trends says are active -- 57 percent? Where are these people? How come the clubs don't see them? How come the government doesn't count them? OK, whatever, take it for what it's worth.

>> The Chameleon Gym (www.chameleongym.com) is now selling direct-to-consumer. The gym won the Sports Product of the Year competition in 2001 and folks can put an entire solid home gym into a small corner of an office behind mirrored doors.

>> America On the Move has gone national finally. Started as Colorado on the Move (see SNEWS story from May 30, 2003), the group encourages people to use pedometers to count steps to up their activity, with an eventual goal of 10,000 steps a day. With sponsors allowing the group to start a website and offer incentives, go to www.americaonthemove.org to find out more or sign up. The effort was co-founded by researcher James O. Hill, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Human Nutrition of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, who says people need to look at small, achievable goals and work first to stop weight gain rather than look only at weight loss. "Americans currently are gaining 1 to 3 pounds a year," said Hill. "Accumulating an extra 2,000 steps or eating 100 less calories throughout the course of the day is very doable -- even enjoyable -- for most people, and will prevent that weight gain. And we find that, after experiencing even moderate success, participants are ready to set ever-increasing goals that can lead to more significant lifestyle improvements."

>> Speaking of weight loss, a recent study has shown that even light exercise can keep the pounds from piling. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that even 30 minutes a day of brisk walking helped overweight non-dieting adults to stop weight gain. A control group who did no exercise for the eight-month study gained an average of 2.5 pounds, while nearly three of four of the exercising subjects (they covered about 11 miles a week) maintained their weight or lost a few pounds. If they upped the ante and jogged about 17 miles a week, they lost an average of eight pounds in the eight months, shedding 10 pounds of body fat in the process and gaining muscle.

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