Fitness: Did you hear?...

Aicon Health & Fitness restructures in Germany, Doug Kortemeyer leaves Vision Fitness, Tunturi creates new boxing/kickboxing brand, Reebok president steps down, plus much more...
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For the week of Oct. 19-25

>> GERMANY -- Aicon Health & Fitness GmbH, the Germany-based European subsidiary of Icon in the United States, has restructured itself in Germany. According to European news sources, Aicon will no longer move forward with agents in the older states, but rather will run the business and distribution itself. In newer German states, the company will continue to use agents. As of Jan. 1, 2005, the new head of the team there will be Roman Dornbusch, 37, who most recently worked for textile manufacturer, Transfertex, where he was responsible for Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey, as well as business development in the Near and Middle East.

>> Doug Kortemeyer, formerly commercial sales manager with Vision Fitness, has moved on. He tells SNEWS® he plans to be back in the industry soon with another venture. Meanwhile, he can be contacted via email at dkortemeye@aol.com or at 414-254-4118.

>> The keynote address at the recent Club Industry show was given by customer service expert, Lisa Ford. Titled "Shaping the customer experience," the message among others was simple. She advised to, above all, hire attitude and train them well. If a company has a choice between someone that has experience that's perfect but a borderline attitude, and another with less experience but a better attitude, choose the attitude. She also advised employers to "exceed expectation" themselves, since they can't expect that from employees if they don't do it themselves. "Attitudes are contagious," she said. "Are you spreading anything people want to catch?"

>> GERMANY -- The three giants of German mail order (Quelle, Otto and Neckermann) all together lost Euro 500 million (USD $634.4 million) in revenues in 2003. That according to a trade newsletter for mail-order services that ranked the top 100 mail-order businesses. Tchibo, the former coffee dealer that now is known for discount goods of all varieties, has risen to No. 20 overall on the list, with revenues in 2003 of Euro 360 million (USD $456.8 million), an increase of Euro 80 million (USD $101.5 million).

>> GERMANY -- Tunturi has jumped into the fray with a new kickboxing and boxing brand called B.S&T, which stands for "Blood, Sweat and Tears." General manager of Tunturi in Germany, Etienne Reinders, told the German trade news service, sport+mode, that the license for the boxing brand U.N.O. ran out so the company decided to proceed with B.S&T.

>> After discovering that its faculty and staff wanted to add core strengthening and flexibility practice to their workouts, the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia stretched its physical education offerings to include Pilates. In September, the university opened a 1,600-square-foot Pilates studio, which is equipped with eight Total Workout Systems, one Cadillac, six chairs and 12 mats, all from Life Fitness partner Peak Pilates. Available classes include mat, reformer and combination classes, as well as private lessons. Classes have been very popular with the university's community of 40,000 and many people are on waiting lists. The department of recreation is also offering an in-depth, three-weekend workshop, which takes participants from an introduction to Pilates through Level III of mat, pole, reformer and chair Pilates.

>> Foot Locker Inc. bought 11 stores in Ireland from Champion Sports Group Ltd., and now expects to operate about 485 stores in 14 European countries by the end of 2004. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Foot Locker expects the deal to add to earnings in 2005, and said annual sales of the acquired stores are forecast to be in line with other European stores. The acquired stores are mostly located in the Dublin area, and average about 4,000 square feet. Foot Locker has offered employment to the current store associates. "The annual sales of these acquired stores are expected to be in line with the average of the company's other stores that operate in Europe," said CEO Matthew Serra. "It is further expected that the acquisition will be accretive to Foot Locker, Inc.'s fully diluted earnings per share in 2005."

>> As reported in the October issue of The Franchise Times, Curves International's current global franchise rankings are as follows: worldwide sales - 74; domestic units - 9; foreign units - 25; total units - 13.

>> Reebok International saw major management shifts last week as its president and COO, Jay Margolis, stepped down, replaced by Chairman and CEO Paul Fireman. Margolis had stepped into the role when Fireman was experiencing health problems. Reebok said the resignation is part of an effort to streamline management -- particularly since Fireman has fully recovered from a coronary-bypass operation he underwent two years ago. A Reebok spokeswoman said the resignation by Margolis was a "mutual decision." Fireman has committed to sign a new long-term contract and will work with the board to groom an internal successor. Also, Reebok appointed Denise Kaigler senior vice president and chief communications officer, reporting to Fireman. Prior to this appointment, Kaigler served as Reebok's vice president of global communications and talent relations, and has had several positions with the company since she joined in 1991. Kaigler is recognized as a pioneer as an African-American in the communications field at a Fortune 500 company. In her new role, Kaigler is the company's top communications strategist, executive management communications counselor and chief company spokesperson. She will also lead Reebok's worldwide communications efforts, which include corporate public and media relations, corporate reputation management, corporate business and financial communications, employee communications, and crisis and issues management.

>> The Dallas Business Journal reported that Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, filed a lawsuit against five Gold's Gym affiliated locations in Dallas-Fort Worth and their owner for closing the fitness centers without notifying dues-paying members. Abbott said the gyms did not secure the required $20,000 security to protect consumers in the event of closure. "We intend to see that the court recognizes the loss to these paid members and orders the company to refund money that is due them," Abbott said in a statement. The owner of the gyms, Scott R. Theeringer, operated Club Systems Inc. in Garland, Dallas and Carrollton; Fitness Forever Inc. in Arlington; and Fitness Forever IV Inc. in Fort Worth, Abbott said. Theeringer could not be located for comment by the Business Journal. Abbott's office said he left Texas when the gyms closed. A spokesman for Gold's Gym declined to comment.

>> Irony extraordinaire: Liu Xiang, the gold medalist in the 110-hurdles at the Athens Olympics, has signed an endorsement deal … with Baisha Group, China's biggest cigarette maker. Gag.

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