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Short News: 6/22/04

JUNE 22, 2004 -- Intersport Deutschland Opens New Order Center

On June 16, Intersport Deutschland opened its new order center, "Redblue," at its Heilbronn, Baden-Wuerttemberg, headquarters. The investment for the buying group costs EUR 20 million. Redblue has an exhibition area of 85,000 square feet. The first show will be July 14-17 and is already sold out (focus on footwear, running, multi-sport, swimwear and fitness). The second show (August 12-19) is also completely booked (focus on outdoor, footwear, inline, golf fashion, accessories). The third show will be in September 23-26, with a focus on team sports, bikes and golf hardware. According to co-chairman Klaus Jost, retailer-members are expected to drop up to 80% of their paper in the Redblue (in former Intersport shows, members usually placed about 20% of their orders…Intersport has had very positive sales results. Headquarters' turnover (2002/03: EUR 955.4 million) in this business year is equal to the turnover of the last business year, said chairman Hartmut Fröhlich. Intersport German retailers are supposed to have had a Y/Y decline in turnover of 1% to EUR 2.2 billion. However, the decline among Intersport retailers is less than the decline in the turnover of the total sports trade, which is at –5%. The European and Canadian (Forzani) partners of Iintersport International had positive sales in 2003: More than 4,700 retailers in 27 countries reported an increase in sales of 3.6% to EUR 7.15 billion. (Source: SAZ)

Umbro Bags Sold As Premiums In German Gas Stations

Umbro merchandise is ending up in German gas stations. Umbro bags and daypacks at one of Germany's leading gas station chains, Aral. Customers can purchase Umbro products at reduced prices if they buy a certain amount of gas. According to Joachim Hein, managing director of Umbro Germany, no inline merchandise will be offered, only products especially designed for the campaign. In campaign with Völkl products from autumn until early June, Aral sold no less than five million backpacks, towels, bottles etc. (Source: SAZ)

Nike Teams Up With Int'l Junior Golf Tour

As part of its commitment to providing junior golfers with developmental programs and greater access to the game, Nike Golf formed a strategic partnership with the International Junior Golf Tour. The entities will work to create opportunities for talented juniors to pursue their dreams of playing at the collegiate or professional level in the US and across the world. Their efforts will include the creation of a scholarship program that will foster the enrollment of worthy juniors to the 50 competitive events that the IJGT conducts between September and May each year. As part of the agreement, Nike Golf equipment will be made available to IJGT competitors. More than 1,500 junior golfers annually take part in the IJGT, which touches more than a dozen states throughout the course of its 50-tournament season. Golfers ages 11-19 years of age are invited to take part in tournaments running from mid-September through the Tour Championship at the end of May. IJGT alumni compete at some of the finest Division 1 colleges, as well as on professional tours around the world.

Salt Lake City Make Overtures To Save Outdoor Retailer Markets

Utah and Salt Lake City officials have made a proposal to keep the Outdoor Retailer markets in Salt Lake City. VNU Expositions, which manages the shows, has been soliciting offers from competing cities because limited space in the Salt Palace forced it to turn away potential exhibitors. Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando are top potential venues to replace Salt Lake. The new plan generally calls for the city, county and state to contribute to construction this year of a $10 million underground parking structure west of the Salt Palace. The roof would be the flat foundation for a temporary pavilion that would be erected for the 2005 Summer Show. Until now, VNU has paid roughly $500,000 to erect the tent pavilion. Utah agencies have agreed to cover the cost of that pavilion in 2005. By 2006, the proposal calls for a permanent structure to be erected atop the parking structure. The legislature will be asked next session to raise hotel and/or restaurant taxes to generate the additional $35 million needed to complete the project.

Nautilus Gets Court Approval For Injunction Vs ICON

Nautlus Group and ICON Health and Fitness have been in court regarding the latter's use of the "Crossbow" name for a multi-function gym similar to Nautilus' Bowflex unit. The Court of Appeals has just ruled: "Setting aside the intent to confuse and evidence of actual confusion factors, there remains sufficient evidence…to justify the preliminary injunction in Nautilus's favor. The degree of similarity of the marks, proximity of the products and services, strength of the Bowflex mark, and similarity of marketing channels are all factors that the court found to favor Nautilus. We have sustained the district court's finding with respect to the strength of the Bowflex mark. At the same time, ICON does not challenge the court's conclusions with respect to the similarity of the marketing channels. On similarity of the marks, we agree with ICON that the marks are not that similar, but we recognize, as the district court did, that this weakness is to some extent compensated for by the identity of the products and the strength of Nautilus's mark. Accordingly, we are not prepared to say that the district court abused its discretion in finding likelihood of confusion…For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the district court granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Nautilus is on similarity of the marks, we agree with ICON that the marks are not that similar, but we recognize, as the district court did, that this weakness is to some extent compensated for by the identity of the products and the strength of Nautilus's mark. Accordingly, we are not prepared to say that the district court abused its discretion in finding likelihood of confusion...For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the district court granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Nautilus is AFFIRMED."

Shorts: John Shanley has joined Susquehanna International Group's sell-side research team, covering athletic footwear and apparel. He joined SIG from Wells Fargo Securities...Bluetorch signed a letter of intent with Laguna Niguel, CA-based Island Tribe Inc. to purchase a majority interest in the surf apparel brand. Bruce MacGregor, president and CEO of Bluetorch, stated, "This is one of the freshest brands I have seen in over 20 years of business. One tends to get jaded by all the product offerings in the marketplace. Nonetheless, the Island Tribe concept and the authentic look of the apparel amazed me from the beginning. I believe we can help Island Tribe management immensely in fulfilling their potential. I am also confident that Island Tribe has tremendous opportunity beyond just apparel. Like the Bluetorch brand, I see Island Tribe as a multi-product category brand down the road."

Stride Rite's Q2 sales increased 7% to $165.0 million from $154.3 million. Q2 net income totaled $11.9 million or 30¢ per diluted share, as compared to net income of $11.2 million or 28¢ per diluted share in last year's Q2.



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