Fitness: Did you hear?… Spirit Fitness to break ground on China facility, plus FIBO, NSGA, YogaFit, America On the Move and much more...

Spirit Fitness to build new manufacturing facility in China, FIBO updates logo and website, Everlast expands licensing in South Korea, U.S. Census Bureau reports $2.9 billion in August sporting goods sales, plus much more...
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For the week of Oct. 25-31

>> Spirit Fitness, as a part of all of its management and ownership and product changes in the last year, has also announced that it will break ground for a new manufacturing facility near Shanghai, China, in the fourth quarter of this year. The facility, slated to be 300,000 square feet, is planned to open by the third quarter of 2006. According to Spirit and owner Dyaco, it will be vertically integrated with full metalworking and powder coating capabilities and an employee capacity of 900 when it reaches its peak season.

>> GERMANY -- The FIBO fitness and wellness show in Essen, Germany, has announced a colorful new modern logo that it says expresses the event's "new dynamism, variety and internationalism." The logo has seven colors, each to represent one of the show's seven categories, which will be used to help navigate visitors around the halls. It's also newly redesigned its website -- www.fibo-messe.com. The goal of the website is "to better help visitors and exhibitors get the information they need because of "the increasing demand for information," according to the show's new director Olaf Tomscheit. The next FIBO show, which for fitness focuses on the commercial segment, will be April 27-30, 2006.

>> Next to the donuts and the SlimJims, 7-Eleven is now offering its first proprietary line of fitness and nutrition products, sold under the Formula 7 brand name. 7-Eleven is slinging its own $2.49 energy drinks, similar to Red Bull, and fitness beverages similar to Gatorade for $1.79. It also sells a line of nutritional bars for $1.79 apiece, placed next to the Tiger's Milk and PowerBars. The lines mirror the sort of foods sold in health clubs with ingredients like bee pollen, green tea polyphenols and gingko biloba, but they're also heavy on high-fructose corn syrup and other sugars.

>> College football coach and analyst Lou Holtz will be the keynote speaker at the 42nd Annual NSGA Management Conference & Eighth Annual Team Dealer Summit. Kicking off the summit on May 22, 2006, Holtz will speak on overcoming seemingly impossible challenges by setting your own goals and working to achieve them. The session is sponsored by K2 Inc. The Conference/Summit will be held May 21-24, 2006, at The Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas. Additional details are available at www.nsga.org.

>> The 21 Minute Convenience Fitness program is making its way into Asia, awarding a license for Shanghai Province. The first facility will open within six months. A minimum of four studios will be up and running within 24 months, with more units planned in Shanghai. The 21 Minute Convenience Fitness program says it provides a 21-minute, sweatless, full-body workout, supervised by a certified coach.

>> In its almost weekly licensing updates, Everlast Worldwide said it has entered into a licensing agreement with South Korea's Spris Corp. The agreement, the third signed with the company, calls for Spris Corp. to produce men's, women's and children's underwear and men's loungewear and sleepwear. The new products will be distributed through Spris stores and sporting goods retailers throughout South Korea. Everlast said that South Korea has emerged as a key market for the company and expansion throughout Asia remains a top priority in its licensing activities. The Seoul-based Spris Corp. currently markets Everlast retail boxing equipment, men's, women's and children's activewear as well as sportswear and footwear in South Korea.

>> In its Monthly Retail Trade Survey, the U.S. Census Bureau reported preliminary sales in sporting goods stores of $2.9 billion for August 2005, the most recent reporting month, up 6.2 percent from the $2.73 billion in August 2004. Year-to-date sales are $20.16 billion, up 6.5 percent from the same period last year. Total sales for calendar year 2004 were $29.74 billion, up 8.6 percent versus 2003. Among the 28 retail categories in the survey, sporting goods stores‚ growth for 2004 ranked in the top third and exceeded the 7.6 percent growth rate for all retail sales. The overall retail growth represented the strongest increase since 1999's 8.4 percent gain.

>> America On the Move's Day of Action got more than 35,000 people walking an extra 2,000 steps on Sept. 28, a 70 percent increase over last year. With 60 events nationwide, AOM's premise is simple -- by eating 100 less calories a day and by taking and extra 2,000 steps each day Americans can improve their overall health. With 35,000 participants walking that one extra mile, collectively AOM participants walked an equivalent to 1.5 times around the circumference of the earth. AOM (http://www.americaonthemove.org/) is a national initiative dedicated to helping individuals and communities across the country make positive changes to improve health and quality of life. By focusing on individuals and communities, AOM strives to support healthful eating and active living habits in our society.

>> YogaFit, a yoga instructor educator, has selected Mad Dogg Athletics, the creator of the Spinning cycling program, to manage the marketing and implementation of instructor certification in all non-U.S. markets. Effective early fall, Mad Dogg will also assume international sales and distribution responsibilities for YogaFit literature, training manuals, home videos, CDs, clothing and other materials. The two companies will also engage in a cross training program that enables Spinning instructors to receive continuing education credits for taking YogaFit courses and vice versa. For more information, check out www.yogafit.com or www.spinning.com.

>> Hurricanes, surging gasoline prices and worries about the job market took a further toll on consumer psyches as the Consumer Confidence Index fell to 85 in October, according to the Conference Board. It was the lowest level since October 2003 and down from September's revised reading of 87.5, which had been the sharpest drop in 15 years. Analysts expected an October reading of 88 for the index, which is compiled from a survey of U.S. households. Lynn Franco, director of the private research group's Consumer Research Center, said in a statement that the "degree of pessimism, in conjunction with the anticipation of much higher home heating bills this winter, may take some cheer out of the upcoming holiday season." Economists closely track consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. One component of the Conference Board report, which examines consumers' views of the current economic situation, fell to 108.2 from 110.4 last month. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' outlook over the next six months, fell to 69.5 from 72.3. The Conference Board index is derived from responses received through Oct. 18 to a survey mailed to 5,000 households in a consumer research panel and includes responses from at least 2,500 households.

>> SNEWS® Reports Research: We may still be getting fatter, according to a recent report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study reported that a majority of Americans are likely to become overweight or obese, all with serious implications for future health care costs. An analysis of data on 4,117 normal-weight white men and women found that within four years, between one in 10 and one in four became overweight and a similar proportion of overweight people became obese. In the long term (between 10 and 30 years), more than half of the women and men became overweight, and about one third of the women and one quarter of the men became obese. The researchers say these figures are greater than most other estimates and suggest that the future burden of obesity-associated chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, several forms of cancer, diabetes and knee arthritis, will be substantial. SNEWS® View: The emotional debate is bound to get louder and louder as will the cry to the government. Those who provide answers, be in activity and gear for it or food and healthier versions of it, should be girding now to be front-row, center, when the time comes.

>> Getting even an hour's worth of work done without interruptions is harder to come by these days. NFI Research (www.nfiresearch.com) surveyed senior execs and managers and found that 61 percent said they are interrupted 11 to 40 times during a typical workday. Seventy-six percent said the longest stretch of uninterrupted time is less than an hour. Twenty-one percent have one to two hours of uninterrupted time, while only 3.4 percent said they have two or more hours of uninterrupted time. One survey respondent said: "The greatest cause of interruptions is ill-discipline in overall approach to work, a misguided belief that the modern ability to communicate quickly must, inevitably, drive an 'instant response' behavior." Another respondent advised: "I encourage staff to 'manage' the interruptions: check e-mail and voice-mail at scheduled times during the day, and don't answer the phone unless you are prepared to stop what you are doing. Staff won't be productive with one eye on the work in front of them, and the other eye watching the e-mail inbox." SNEWS® View: Of course, clicking on that SNEWS® News Digest on Monday night or Tuesday morning is an exception. Right? We think so.

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