>> The Body Bar is sweet 16. It’s somehow amazing that the simplest of exercise products hasn’t had to add bells and whistles since it was also just right. It just keeps selling and selling. To celebrate Body Bar Systems is offering its customers a complimentary “Master Your Body” video if the customer mentions “Happy Birthday” when they place an order. Body Bar Systems, which was founded by Arno Niemand, has more than 10,000 customers in the United States. Its products are simple: The Original Body Bar, a weighted fitness bar, and the extensive Master Your Body video/DVD series of workout programs. For more information about Boulder, Colo.-based, Body Bar Systems, contact Andrea Dyer, 1-800-500-2030, ext. 2, or go to www.bodybars.com.
>> Do you recall the Makoto fitness game? The company exhibited at the Health & Fitness Business expo in August 2003 and displayed a triangular-shaped “arena” with a tower on each corner. A user stood in the arena and used both physical and mental agility and skill to respond to lights flashing on towers and tap the light with a pole. Well, look for a Makoto in one of the opening scenes of the 2003 movie “Paycheck” (with Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman). OK, so it wasn’t a blockbuster, which is likely why SNEWS® just got around to catching it. But we took one look at Affleck’s character training and said, “Hey, that’s the Makoto!” Then in a later scene the move ties the training to a real-life fight. Not a bad concept. Makoto co-owner Marian Shaw told SNEWS® that an executive with the movie saw one at the Ojai Valley Spa and decided he could use it. But, she told us, it wasn’t a working model. That way, if Affleck messed up, nobody knew it! The lights and sounds were edited in afterward — to make him look like a stud. Said Shaw, “Affleck could have used one to train!” No, the company got nothing from it except the ability to promote it on its website: www.makoto-usa.com. Meanwhile, the company has been doing well, putting Makotos in at clubs and amusement centers. It has a distributor in Germany and is talking to another in the United Kingdom. SNEWS® View: If you ever get a chance to try one, do it. It’s addictive and fun. And you get a workout without really knowing it.
>> Strong second-half sales of athletic and sport footwear pushed 2003 sales to $14.45 billion, a 2 percent increase for the year, despite a 4.4 percent decline in sales in the first half, according to preliminary data for the soon-to-be published NSGA consumer study of sports equipment and footwear purchases, “The Sporting Goods Market in 2004.” Purchases continued to be led by the walking shoe category, which grew to $3.47 billion, a 3 percent increase vs. 2002. Strong sales of running/jogging shoes, up 6 percent to $1.8 billion, contributed to the growth. Overall unit sales grew 3 percent, most likely fueled by the promotional environment in the first half of the year. This allowed modest growth in spite of the overall decline in average price. The full 78-page report is prepared for NSGA by Irwin Broh & Associates, a research company that specializes in the sports and leisure field. The report is free to NSGA manufacturer members and sustaining retail members. For more: contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Healthclub.com (www.healthclub.com) has announced the launch of a new website focused on weight management. The new site offers programming designed to help users establish healthy eating and exercise habits. In addition to its current content, which has an online directory of fitness professionals, fitness facilities, organizations and industry suppliers, the new website at www.healthclub.com includes, for example, a food database, recipes, a “diet club” for support, a wellness library, calculators for things like body mass and chat rooms.
>> Health & Fitness Business trade show’s redesigned website is now live. Click on www.healthandfitnessbiz.com. The redesign has new features aimed to help retailers and exhibitors prepare for the August trade show in Denver, Colo. Users can register online for the show, make hotel and travel arrangements, and view the exhibitor list and floorplan. In addition, exhibitors can also download sales brochures and contracts. “First and foremost, we are looking to serve our attendees with concise, up-to-the-minute event information, as well as to make things easier for retailers through online registration,” said trade show director Lance Camisasca. “Secondly, we have added dedicated areas for exhibitors and press to bolster our communication within the fitness community.”
>> The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported by the National Sporting Goods Association showed the Sporting Goods CPI Index jumping to 101.6 for March, a jump of 1.2 percent vs. the March 2003 index. After being positive for three months in a row, the Index returned to negative territory in January and February. These four months have been the first time in more than five years — since February 1998 — that the Index has been positive. In the previous reporting month (February), the Index declined 0.3 percent. Since its December 1999 peak of negative 5.8 percent, the Sporting Goods CPI has been gradually moving higher (i.e., less negative). For 2003, the decline averaged 0.8 percent. For 2002, the decline was 2.6 percent. The CPI for All Items in March 2004 increased 1.7 percent from the same month in 2003.
>> Everlast Worldwide (Nasdaq: EVST) appointed Mark Ackereizen, Teddy Atlas, James McGuire Jr. and Jeffrey Schwartz to its board of directors effective April 16. With their addition, Everlast’s board now includes 11 directors, six of whom are independent in accordance with the requirements of the Nasdaq Stock Market. Ackereizen is a CPA and a partner in a firm specializing in accounting and taxation, while Atlas has worked in the boxing industry as a fighter, trainer and TV commentator. McGuire and Schwartz are practicing attorneys with law firms that have expertise in government, real estate and commercial litigation, among other types of law.
>> Imports of sports equipment reached $6.6 billion in 2003, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous year’s imports, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data by SBRnet. Exercise/fitness equipment led imports, with a dollar value of $1.03 billion. This represented a 20.4 percent increase over the $858 million imported in 2002. The three highest categories (exercise/fitness, then golf and then bicycles) represented 42 percent of the total value of sports equipment imports.
>> Keep your eyes open for occasional email requests to participate in ongoing research being done by MDC Research (www.mdcresearch.com) for The Nautilus Group. SNEWS® was passed an email received by a source, but if you get one, you’ll need to act fast if you want to take part: The survey shuts down after just a couple of days. According to Nautilus, serious participants make an effort to take part right away. If it takes longer, research shows the email has perhaps been passed to assistants to take care of and that can taint results. This particular one was about the company’s consideration of a logo change.
>> Want to spend 24 hours running non-stop on a treadmill? Honestly, we don’t either, but two nut cases in New York will be doing just that in a store window from 8 a.m. April 29 to 8 a.m. April 30. Two ultra-marathoners will make an attempt to break the Guinness world record for the longest distance run on a treadmill in 24 hours in what they and the store are calling a “Treadathalon.” (Doesn’t that mean more than one event?) Anyway, the runners are Christopher Bergland and Dean Karnazes who will run side-by-side on two treadmills (no word on the brand, if you happen past the window, let us know) positioned just inside the storefront of the Kiehl’s flagship located at 109 Third Ave. in New York City’s East Village. The record of 153.6 miles is owned by a woman, Edit Berces, of Budapest, Hungary. To break the world record, the two die-hard athletes will have to maintain an average speed of 9:24 minute miles. Bergland is a native of New York City and a Kiehl’s store employee who has won triple Ironman competitions. Karnazes is an ultra-marathon champion from San Francisco. The event will raise money for YouthAIDS. Kiehl’s was founded in 1851 (www.kiehls.com) and, believe it or not, doesn’t sell sporting goods or exercise equipment, but face and body care lotions and potions.
>> Someone had too much fun plotting the little symbols used to identify the features of clothing in Hind’s running and fitness 2004 catalog. Forget some technical lettering you can’t decipher. Let’s keep this simple. For women’s sports bras, a single-dip ice cream cone signifies that it’s good for low-impact activities, a double-dip is medium-impact, and a triple scoop is for high impact. Gender specification is with silly stick-figure-like faces, and we totally LOVE the stick figure for a relaxed fit. Never knew a stick figure could be this relaxed! Click here, and then click on the link to the Icon Guide to see the full line-up.