ispo preps summer show with strong Nordic fitness theme

Considered the centrally located gateway to the international sports market, Munich will host its ispo summer '04 trade show July 4-6, showcasing the latest market trends in sport equipment and apparel. After dabbling in Nordic walking at the last couple of shows, this show's running and outdoor segments will be dominated by Nordic fitness and Nordic walking.
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Considered the centrally located gateway to the international sports market, Munich will host its ispo summer '04 trade show July 4-6, showcasing the latest market trends in sport equipment and apparel. After dabbling in Nordic walking at the last couple of shows, this show's running and outdoor segments will be dominated by Nordic fitness and Nordic walking.

Nordic walking may have been a hard sell to companies not much more than a year ago, but an ispo source told SNEWS® this year some companies are "practically begging for spots in the Nordic walking area."

"Although it's mostly become big in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, it's also gradually spreading across Europe," we were told. "What's really interesting is that all of the running brands (such as adidas, Reebok, Asics, New Balance, Pearl Izumi, Polar, Concurve and Tao, among others) are taking part too. It's a great overview for retailers in one place."

Many events are revolving around the emerging Nordic activity at the ispo show, and retailers will gain insight into the growing product range of Nordic fitness/walking in both the running and outdoor sectors. Among the highlights are a Nordic fitness "village" showcasing companies and products involved in the sport; a Nordic walking/blading parcourse snaking from the outdoor hall to the running hall and back; and the Nordic Challenge competition, which will combine Nordic walking, blading and trail running with European athletes Evi Sachenbacher, Rene Sommerfeldt, Tobias Angerer, Peter Schlickenrieder, Ronnie Ackermann and Georg Späth competing alongside show attendees.

Exhibitors and those introducing product and programs cut a broad swath through the sportings goods arena, from the well-known shoe and sporting goods companies such as adidas and Nike to outdoor specialists such as Meindl, Lowa and Columbia. This year the snowsports specialists are also tossing their hats into the Nordic ring, including Fischer, Madshus and Ziener, with hydration company CamelBak coming forward with a special collection. Among pole companies, the leaders were on the forefront, including Leki, Exel, Komperdell and Swix, but other companies are seeing the business opportunities and leaping into the fray this summer, including Fizan, Gabel, Birki plus a new company called One Way.

In addition to ispo's Nordic focus, the International Nordic Fitness Conference will host the first International Nordic Fitness Organization (INFO) in cooperation with ispo. Workshop topics include trade, facilitating health and lifestyle, and Nordic fitness' future. International presenters and speakers are expected, as well as visitors from all over the world. To register or for more information, visit www.nordicfit.info.

Nordic fitness/walking is turning into nearly the No. 1 emphasis among retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, an ispo source said.

Other ispo segments include:
>> textrends: This segment features textile trends and companies involved in the pre-production phase of manufacturing. It will house the winners of the ispo BrandNew competition (see May 4, 2004 SNEWS® Outdoor: Did You Hear?…). Plus, there will be a fashion show stage presenting the winners of the sportswear competition category.

>> running: This category will feature notable companies like adidas, Asics, Champion, Concurve, Converse, Ecco, Jako, Kappa, Life Fitness, Löffler, Lotto, New Balance, Newline, Pearl Izumi, Polar, Pony, Reebok, Sigma, Tao, Thorlo and Tri.me. Also located in this hall will be the Runner's World Action Point exhibit, informing attendees about endurance sports. For the first time, a jury consisting of international dealers and the media will award the Runner's World ispo Award in the following categories: shoes, apparel, accessories and walking/Nordic walking.

>> outdoor: In addition to a heavy emphasis on Nordic walking, this year's summer ispo Outdoor award will be presented in hardware, footwear, textile and accessories categories. Exhibitors include adidas eyewear, Buff, CamelBak, Columbia, Deproc, Dolomite, Exel, Fischer/Löffler, Fizan, Gabel, Gumotex, Helly Hansen, Hi-Tec, Kamik, Karhu, Komperdell, Leki, Lizard, Lowa, Meindl, Mephisto, Merrell, One Way, Ploner, Polartec, Profeet, Salomon, Sorry, Suunto, Swix, Tecnica, Trespass, Trezeta, W.L. Gore and Ziener.

>> fitness: Among the exhibitors in this area are Bänfer, Bio Matrix, Body Sculpture, Carl Lewis Fitness, Dittmann, Hammer Sports, Ironmaster, Kolckmann, Life Fitness, Life Gear, Sunteco, Supreme, Tonic and Valenti Sante.

>> ispovision: Running concurrently with the ispo summer show is ispovision, the trade show for sport-inspired fashion that debuted at the 2004 winter show. The show's concept is to blend lifestyle, fashion and sports into a Fashion City exhibit showcase complete with shopping streets, market squares and multi-level storefronts in an exhibit hall. Within each module, exhibitors can create their own themes from concept shops to showrooms to flagship stores in one of four districts. On July 4-5, sportstyle dealers will be able to cast their vote for the best outfits for the International Sportstyle Award, which will be presented at the GQ Style Night on July 5. The new and trendy vision was pulled off admirably at the winter show, and it should be worth a visit this summer too.

ispo registration and travel arrangements
Discounted pre-registration tickets to ispo can be purchased online until June 13 at www.ispo.com. ispo is also offering the ispocard to all trade show visitors, which offers one-time registration and entrance into ispo summer and winter, Golf Europe, Fairway and Intermot. Price: Euro 77 (about USD $92).

Travel and accommodation service is available through Maritz smart GmbH, www.smart-fairs.com. Contact fairs@maritz.de or via phone (+49.1805) 34 77 80. For discounts up to 45 percent on Air France flights, call +33 (0)820 820 820 or refer to www.airfrance.com for the nearest Air France office. Refer to ispo code AXZE ISPO when making flight reservations.

For more information or to register for the show, visit www.ispo.com.

SNEWS® View: Traditionally a significantly smaller show than the winter show, the summer event appears to have more legs this year, likely because ispo management is putting the pedal to the metal to pump it up. The Nordic fitness/walking theme is just coming across to the United States this year, as SNEWS® wrote in its 2004 GearTrends Winter Outdoor magazine (go to www.geartrends.com and click on the magazine icon to download it if you missed it), so this kind of hoopla over walking, running, blading and gendering with poles may leave some with furrowed brows. But already a couple of manufacturers are looking at both outdoor and fitness venues this summer for larger launches that should in the next year bring more on this theme to the United States.

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