Yaktrax, Sof Sole parent sees synergy for recent Perfect Fitness acquisition among athletic consumers, retailers

SNEWS finds out why Implus, best known for its Yaktrax and Sof Sole footcare and outdoor accessory brands, decided to add a fitness product company to its team of companies.
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SNEWS finds out why Implus, best known for its Yaktrax and Sof Sole footcare and outdoor accessory brands, decided to add a fitness product company to its team of companies.

Implus (www.implus.com), best known for its footcare and outdoor accessory brands such Yaktrax and Sof Sole, plans to expand its reach into the fitness world with its latest acquisition of Perfect Fitness.

Prefect Fitness (www.perfectonline.com) manufactures and distributes bodyweight training equipment, including the Perfect Pullup, Perfect Pushup and Perfect Situp products. Financial details of the Sept. 15, 201, acquistion were not disclosed.

Greg Stryker, marketing manager for Implus, told SNEWS the parent company plans to help Perfect Fitness grow, including “the potential for new accessory lines that will enhance the fitness experience.”

“It’s a new foray for us, but our Sof Sole brand and others already play in similar sectors with the same athletic consumer,” Stryker said. The brands also deal with similar retail outlets, from specialty shops to big-box stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart and Target.

While it recently trended toward outdoor accessory acquisitions since its acquisition of Yaktrax in 2006, Stryker said the company began in 1989 with more of an athletic focus. “This brings us back and toward that sporting goods market on the fitness side,” he said. But it doesn’t necessarily mean Implus is looking for more fitness brands, he said.

“We saw an opportunity," he added, "and we think we can build off the Perfect Fitness name.”

Alden Mills, a U.S. Navy SEALs veteran, co-founded Perfect Fitness in 2004 and will continue to head the company, which will remain headquartered in Sausalito, Calif. Implus is based in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

“Mills uses his background in elite SEALs training and understanding of functional fitness to develop fitness products that utilize functional, natural movement and body-weight exercise to enable consumers of all fitness levels to unlock their body’s potential,” the company stated in a release.

In 2009, Perfect Fitness ranked No. 4 overall on Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 500 list, ranking the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Perfect Fitness reported 12,749-percent sales growth for the combined three years previous to the award.

But the success hasn’t been a bed of roses. In August 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Perfect Fitness agreed to pay a $425,000 civil penalty for failing to report immediately a defect with a previous version of its Perfect Pullup product in 2008. In February 2011, the company and CPSC announced a recall of about 7,000 Perfect Pullups.

Today, the Perfect Fitness products are sold direct by the company online and through 24,000 retail doors in the United States. Implus distributes its products in more than 75,000 retail outlets across North America and in 65 countries worldwide.

"This is the perfect partnership of product development, marketing and operational expertise,” Mills said in a release. “Implus' industry leading retail capabilities are exactly what's needed to help our retail partners and the Perfect Brand grow for years to come."

-- David Clucas


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