For the week of Dec. 13-19
>> The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association has announced the dates and place of its new event, the Sports and Technology Convergence (click here to see Aug. 5, 2005, SNEWSÂ® story on the event, "SGMA looks to future with new events"). The event will be Oct. 24-26, 2006, at The Estancia conference center and hotel in La Jolla, Calif., near San Diego. (www.estancialajolla.com), a sprawling, rancho-style hotel and spa complex with extensive meeting facilities. Says the SGMA about the event: The way people play, the way they perform, the way they buy, and the way they enjoy sports and fitness is being transformed by technology on a daily basis. That makes a huge difference for your business." It goes on to say the meeting is all about "accelerating the growth of your business by connecting with the latest, brightest and best in the technology industry." To sign up for updates, go to www.sgma.com/stc. In a side note, the SGMA has decided to separate its leadership conference, originally announced as an overlapping into to the sports and technology one; that is expected to be held in Washington, D.C., right before the group's annual National PE Day lobbying event.
>> SportsArt Fitness has released an Xtrainer DVD intended for both consumers and retailers as an introduction to the piece of equipment. The DVD has multiple menus so it can reach as many markets as possible; they include club/trainer, active senior, how to operate, demonstration, and promo. The company said its retail dealers can show it in their showrooms; their club sales reps can show it to potential customers; clubs can use it for training. By the end of the month, the company said it is going to have a link on itsÂ home page so visitors can ask to receive their own DVD to preview the product. Meanwhile, anybody interested in the DVD can email, email@example.com.
>> This holiday season is shaping up to be a jolly one with retail industry sales for November up 7.4 percent unadjusted over last year and up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month, according to the National Retail Federation. The increase is in line with NRF's holiday sales forecast of 6.0 percent growth. The numbers exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants. November retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) rose 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from November, and increased 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.Â NRF (www.nrf.com) said it expects retail industry sales to increase 5.6 percent this year over 2004. Holiday sales, which are defined as retail industry sales in the full months of November and December, are expected to rise 6.0 percent to $438.5 billion.
>> Curves International has launched a new travel company to provide travel services and special deals and discounts to Curves members. Trip planning and booking services through Curves Travel are free to members and their families and friends. With free access to www.curvestravel.com, members can book vacation packages, cruises, hotels, and rental cars online. They will also have opportunities to participate in group travel, and to take advantage of special offers and hot deals for Curves members only. Curves Travel services are currently available only in the United States, with services for Canadian Curves members planned for the end of the first quarter of 2006.
>> 21 Minute Convenience Fitness is opening a franchise studio in San Ramon, Calif., and is the first of four franchises slated for the area. 21 Minute Convenience Fitness provides what it calls a "No Sweat" full-body workout for men and women of all ages and fitness levels. The original 21 Minute Convenience Fitness studio opened in Walnut Creek, east of San Francisco, two years ago.
>> WOW! Work Out World has opened two new licensed locations in Japan. Hideoshi Masuda opened his 10th and 11th licensed WOW! locations in Sugita and Sagamioono, Japan, in November and December. He's on schedule to open two to three additional licensed locations in 2006. WOW! (www.workoutworld.com ) is a family-owned and operated chain of health clubs which started out with one club in 1993 and has grown to 40 licensed and family owned locations over the past decade.
>> In other less serious news, Bike Athletic has announced the production of its 350 millionth jock strap. The jock strap was taken off the assembly line Nov. 28 and framed and flown by DHL to Bike's headquarters in Atlanta, Nov. 30. "There was no doubt in my mind that DHL would take care of our package the way we have taken care of so many packages for the past 130 years," said Jenny Shulman, Bike Athletic brand manager and expert on jock straps. (Ed. Note: No, really, she said that. We couldn't even make that up.) The Bike Web Company, now Bike Athletic, a division of Russell Corporation, invented the jock strap in 1874. Designed to provide support for bicycle jockeys riding in the cobblestone streets of Boston, the athletic supporter quickly became known as the "Bike jockey strap," and eventually the name was shortened to jock strap. "The jock strap has been a part of more sports moments than any other piece of sports merchandise," added Shulman, a noted athletic supporter. (Honestly, folks, this is EXACTLY from the press release).