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>> Super cool way to recycle athletic shoes:The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and Nike have announced they are re-lacing their partnership to recycle used athletic shoes, expanding the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program to every state in the continental United States. In the second year of the partnership, NRC and Nike anticipate all 32 of last year’s participating recycling organizations to return as well as 50 new recycling programs, including the partnership’s first curbside Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycling effort in Contra Costa County, Calif. All of the participating organizations will commit to collecting a minimum of 5,000 pairs of worn-out athletic shoes in the coming year. For additional information about the NRC, visit www.nrc-recycle.org. For more information about Nike Reuse-A-Shoe, visit www.nikereuseashoe.com. If you’d like to do good with your old shoes and aren’t within the area of one of the 80 participating organizations for 2004, you can send your shoes directly to the Nike Recycling Center in Wilsonville, Ore., or drop them off at any of the 11 Niketowns in the United States or at participating retailers.
>> In a continuing series, we guess, comes the same headline all over again: Americans still aren’t exercising enough. OK, tell us something we didn’t know. Anyway, this latest bit is from the Centers for Disease Control Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Summary Physical Activity Report (how’s that for a mouthful?) that was published in the CDC’s journal, “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” The main news this year was that the definition of physical activity had been broadened to include many daily lifestyle activities, which the agency felt had been overlooked before in assessing activity. That’s the good news. The bad news is that even counting gardening and housework, no more than 55 percent of adults got the recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. Click here to access the full report.
>> The Nautilus Group, Inc. (NYSE: NLS) has struck a deal to sell its branded fitness products on Amazon.com’s new Sporting Goods store, available now at www.amazon.com/sportinggoods. This includes all Nautilus, Schwinn Fitness, StairMaster, Bowflex and Trimline products. “This relationship is an example of how we continue to reach millions of new customers in an incredible shopping environment, giving them an opportunity to bring the names they know and love from health clubs worldwide into their homes,” said Gregg Hammann, Nautilus president and CEO, in a statement. The sporting goods store offers a wide range of items, including other fitness equipment and gear for things like yoga and pilates, as well as archery, paintball and skateboarding. SNEWS View: This is an interesting move, but we’re still not convinced that consumers are willing to shell out the kind of prices that these products command simply by viewing the product online, without kicking a few tires and checking it out for themselves. We think that specialty fitness retailers still have an important role to play here, showing folks how to actually use the product — not to mention assemble and service it. We also wonder what Nautilus retailers will think of this move since Internet sales have always been a rather hot potato in the industry.
>> IHRSA named Fred Turok, CEO of U.K.-based L.A. Fitness, the European Club Operator of the Year. Sponsored by Technogym, the second annual award will be presented on Oct. 3 during the IHRSA European Congress in London. IHRSA Executive Director John McCarthy noted that Turok has helped L.A. Fitness “establish itself as one of Britain’s fastest-growing and most successful health club operators by providing a fun, vibrant, friendly and supportive environment.” L.A. Fitness, which was founded in 1996 with just four locations, currently operates 68 facilities with 140,000 members in England, Ireland and Spain. Between 1998 and 2002, revenue grew almost tenfold from 5 million pounds (US $8 million) to 47 million pounds (US $75 million).
>> For the first time, more than 100 employees from Life Fitness hit the pavement Sept. 14 to participate in the American Heart Association’s 2003 American Heart Walk, raising nearly $24,000 to battle heart disease and stroke in the process. Hardy staff endured a downpour throughout much of the three-mile walk at the College of DuPage outside of Chicago in Glen Ellyn, Ill. The company originally hoped to raise $5,000 through soliciting pledges, but attributed its significant contribution to its commitment to exercise and understanding of its role in maintaining heart health.
>> In one of the more bizarre announcements we’ve seen recently, RadioShack Corp. announced that it is launching LifeWise, a new brand of products priced from $4.99 to $299.99 to enhance fitness, health and wellness. Chairman and CEO Leonard Roberts called LifeWise “a natural fit” for RadioShack, with its “commitment to making consumer electronics affordable and accessible for everyday living.” The line, which will be in stores by the end of September, is now accessible at www.radioshack.com, and includes a wireless heart rate monitor, an electronic body fat analyzer and a digital pedometer, as well as blood pressure monitors and a digital in-ear thermometer. Other “wellness” items include air purifiers, an aromatherapy sleep machine and a handheld massager. In addition, RadioShack has developed a website at http://www.LifeWiseOnline.com that features detailed product information and other articles and tips to enhance health and wellness. Look for RadioShack spokeswoman Vanessa Williams to hype LifeWise in a national media campaign. SNEWS View: Hmmm, we don’t really get the connection here and can’t imagine people intentionally heading to RadioShack for fitness gear. “Sure, I’ll take a body fat analyzer with those short wave radio parts and electrical converters” — doesn’t quite have a ring, does it? But maybe this is a good thing if it results in some couch potatoes and computer/electronics junkies or their family and friends for whom they buy gifts, getting up and being active. We imagine this is planned just in time for the holiday season since Radio Shack can be an outlet for gifts; now, your favorite nerd and electronics buff can make it a one-stop shop.
>> Dick’s Sporting Goods named William R. Newlin executive vice president and chief administrative officer, responsible for helping set the company’s strategic direction and manage the financial, legal and personnel departments. Most recently, Newlin was chairman and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll, one of the country’s largest law firms, and has earned numerous honors, including being named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal, one of America’s Best Corporate Lawyers by Corporate Board Member Magazine, and Inc. Magazine’s 1991 Entrepreneur of the Year.
>> The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) has named FreeMotion Fitness the official training equipment supplier for its High Performance Program Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Fla., as well as for a new facility scheduled to open this year in Carson, Calif. The Key Biscayne facility has installed a complete line of FreeMotion Selectorized equipment (15 pieces), seven pieces of EPIC Strength free weight units and several NordicTrack Commercial Cardio machines, including one treadmill, two Incline Trainers and three recumbent bikes. The facilities host a variety of camps and programs for amateur to professional athletes.
>> As reported in SNEWS a few months ago, Matrix Fitness Systems will have its own U.S.-based design center when its parent, Johnson Health Tech, opens its first North American R&D facility in December in Madison, Wis. Initially, the center will have 25 engineers on staff and an annual operating budget of $2.5 million. Also, Matrix has hired Ron Carringi, former engineering manager of Life Fitness’ soon-to-be-closed Paso Robles, Calif., production facility, as engineering manager, based in Johnson’s factory in Shanghai, China. Carringi’s role will be to ensure that the company’s U.S. designs match the capabilities of the Asian factories, to maximize efficiencies and quality output at the Matrix factory, and ultimately to reduce time to market. He reports to Tom Moran, director of manufacturing engineering for Johnson Health Tech North America at the new Wisconsin facility.
>> Life Fitness has acquired 80 percent of Protokon, LLC, a European equipment manufacturer in Kiskoros, Hungary, which the company had announced in May will manufacture its Signature Series selectorized strength line. Life Fitness also said that the 25,000-square-foot factory will manufacture its cardiovascular equipment beginning in 2004. Protokon, which has been ISO 9001 certified since 1996, also has locations in Budapest and Eger, Hungary. Voyl Divljakovic, executive vice president of integrated operations at Life Fitness, will manage Protokon.
>> NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported revenues and earnings for its first quarter ended Aug. 31, 2003. First quarter revenues increased 8 percent to $3 billion, versus $2.8 billion for the same period last year. First quarter net income totaled $261.2 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $48.9 million, or $0.18 loss per diluted share, and $217.2 million, or $0.81 per diluted share before accounting change in the prior year. During the first quarter, U.S. revenues declined 2 percent to $1.25 billion versus $1.28 billion for the first quarter of 2003. U.S. athletic footwear revenues declined 5 percent to $822.4 million. Apparel revenues increased 5 percent to $346.5 million. Equipment revenues fell 4 percent to $85 million. Nike reported worldwide futures orders for athletic footwear and apparel, scheduled for delivery from September 2003 through January 2004, totaling $3.7 billion, 10.5 percent higher than such orders reported for the same period last year. Approximately three points of this growth were due to changes in currency exchange rates. In addition, approximately four to five points of this growth can be attributed to an earlier start of the spring season for footwear sales in Europe. By region, futures orders for the United States were down 3 percent; Europe increased 28 percent; Asia Pacific grew 19 percent; and the Americas increased 9 percent. In Europe, seven points of the increase were due to currency exchange rates. Currency exchange contributed to Asia Pacific and the Americas’ growth by two points and three points, respectively. www.nike.com
>> Don’t expect to pick up a gold watch from your current employer? You’re not alone. The Net Future Institute says the amount of time that senior managers and executives expect to stay working for the same organization has dramatically decreased. When asked how long they expected to remain at an organization five to 10 years ago, 47.3 percent of respondents said more than 10 years, with nearly half of those saying they expected to stay 20 or more years. Today, that number has dropped to 26.3 percent who said they would expect to stay with the same organization more than 10 years. Top reasons for the change to shorter stays with the same firm are: employer loyalty/lack of loyalty (48 percent), leadership of organization (42 percent), work/life balance (38 percent), current economic conditions (37.5 percent), and organizational culture (35 percent).