With the New Year comes new equipment reviews and the industry is all a-twitter since the public tends to sit up and give these serious attention. Consumer Digest’s February issue was also released the first of January, with its tri-annual list stressing specialty brands. In categories that covered ellipticals, treadmills, home gyms and bikes, brands included were Octane, LifeCore, Vision, Hoist, Inspire, Precor, Body-Solid, LeMond, Diamondback, True and PaceMaster. “I hope this will drive customers back into specialty fitness stores,” said Roger Bates, owner, LifeCore Fitness. On Jan. 4, Consumer Reports issued a press release in advance of the release of its February issue naming its 14 top buys, including AFG, Precor, Sole, Bowflex, LifeCore and NordicTrack. Click here to see that release on SNEWS. Next up are the treadmill-centric reviews in a coming issue of Runner’s World….
Jack LaLanne, the nation’s fitness legend, has been recovering from heart valve surgery since early December. LaLanne, 95, was reported in Club Industry as saying, “I can’t die. It would wreck my image.” A full recovery is expected. And we’ll lay money he’ll be as feisty as ever. Click here to see our Oct. 19, 2009, SNEWS® story, “Jack LaLanne, 95, accepts lifetime achievement award….” Various fitness retailers in North America have been tapping into a company called Greenmaple Wellness to set up consumer-oriented information on their websites via a wellness e-zine. Already launching their e-zines are BGI Fitness in Indiana (click here) and Fitness Town in British Columbia, Canada (click here) ….
Cybex in December announced a price increase on products via a personally signed letter from its CEO John Aglialoro: “…The ‘fly in the ointment’ for 2010 and beyond has now grown into a major dilemma for Cybex. The situation for us to continue serving you requires a choice between two equally undesirable alternatives to price. Offer aggressive, deeply discounted pricing for 2010 (as too many competitors of Cybex are doing), or increase pricing in January to allow us to continue investing in explicit differentiation…. As CEO, I choose the latter philosophy…. We know a higher price point based on value will be daunting for some.” Dealers have told SNEWS they question whether in this economy a higher price, even with “better engineering,” will fly…
Value Fitness, an independent fitness retailer in a suburb of Cleveland opened by two former Exercare executives, shut down recently. Opened in late 2007 by Brian Massie and Mark Mutch with Sean Massie working sales, Brian Massie told SNEWS they decided “to stop ‘throwing good money after bad.’ We started out great, but could not overcome the adverse slide in the economy. And we did not see the economy turning around for some time.” Click here to see a Dec. 7, 2007, SNEWS story about the new venture.
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