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Today's news...6/22/05

JUNE 22, 2005 -- Saucony Shareholder Opposes Stride Rite Deal

Fairview Capital Management, which holds a 2.6% stake in Saucony, said Stride Rite's $23-a-share bid for Saucony is "inadequate." Fairview said it would vote against the proposed sale, in part because it believes Saucony shareholders "will receive zero control premium and none of the projected cost-saving synergies."

Indoor Soccer Association Links With Sporting Essentials

The US Indoor Soccer Association allied with national retailer Sporting Essentials for athletic apparel and equipment. Under the arrangement, USIndoor members without an existing retail store can easily have one, and those having a store already can supplement their existing one. At no cost to participating members, Sporting Essentials handles virtually all of the setup, customer service, delivery, and back-end administration. Customers simply visit their facility's or league's website, click on a link to the virtual pro shop, and order from over 2,000 products.

Brett Russell, VP of Sporting Essentials, explained, "Having a pro shop demonstrates a facility's commitment to sports; having an online pro shop shows its commitment to success." The Sporting Essentials online pro shop is ideal for facilities interested in generating incremental revenue, as well as fully serving their customers. Even facilities without a website can participate via a link from USIndoor.com.

USIndoor president Don Shapero noted, "There’s no longer a reason for any facility or league not to have a retail presence. The additional asset will better serve customers and enhance our members' image."

USIndoor.com is an organization of more than 300 sport facilities, startups and corporate members. USIndoor offers a range of products and services that support community recreation centers, with an emphasis on indoor soccer. Corporate affiliates provide products and services including insurance, building construction, flooring, dasher boards, apparel, management software, youth programming, vending machines, and consulting. In addition, USIndoor promulgates official rules, certifies referees, publishes a national magazine (GOAL Indoor), and provides online news and information at www.usindoor.com, for a market estimated in excess of 4.3 million youth and adult players.

Gander Mountain Launches Travel Company

In order to meet customers' demands for wild adventures in exotic locations, Gander Mountain has launched its own full-service travel company, Outdoor Expeditions. "We recognize the opportunity to better serve our customers in this category," said Gander Mountain CEO Mark Baker. "We've always offered great gear to help customers enjoy the outdoors, and now we're happy to offer travel packages to some exciting destinations where our customers can put that gear to use."

"What sets this company apart," said travel manager Mike Schoby, "is that someone at Outdoor Expeditions has personally been to every destination we offer. We can truly speak with first-hand knowledge on each location, with up-to-date information on all of our hunting and fishing hotspots around the world. When people are booking what could be the greatest vacation of their life, they have a lot to consider. Our staff has real field experience and works to help design the best vacation package for each of our customers."

Despite being new to Gander Mountain, Outdoor Expeditions actually has years of experience under its belt. As Jay Anderson's Outdoor Expeditions, the company delivered quality adventure packages to customers for 17 years.

Cabela's Is Center Of Nebraska Debate

Cabela's is the center of a political debate in Nebraska, its home state. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Nabity wants the state legislature called into a special session to pass an economic development bill they skipped over in the recent legislative session. The bill would have benefited Sydney, NE-based Cabela's, which is seeking to open a branch in Sarpy County, just south of Omaha.

There was enough of concern about the benefit package, that sponsors feared a filibuster that could not be stopped. It proposed creating special tourism and entertainment districts, with sales and lodging tax incentives used to help fund construction. Cabela's would have qualified as a tourist destination under the bill. The bill will return in the next session.

Finish Line Launching Shox TV Campaign

The Finish Line launched a new TV campaign in conjunction with Nike and agency Wieden+Kennedy. The three 0:15 spots called "Motivation" feature the new Nike Shox Cog running shoes. These new ads will air primarily on national cable television including ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN News, MTV, MTV 2, Comedy Central, Spike, BET, G4, and Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. The Nike Shox Cog ads will also appear online via Yahoo! Music, ESPN Motion, Gamespot, MTV and Maxim. The "Motivation" spots feature three colors of the Nike Shox Cog, and the spots will run as bookends when they air on national TV.

"Motivation" depicts three runners on separate treadmills with various scenarios projecting behind them. The background scenarios include a male runner on a treadmill with an ostrich chasing him, a female runner with ghost eyes chasing her and another male runner with aliens coming after him.

Sebago Unveils First Shop-In-Shop Module

Sebago unveiled its first national Shop-In-Shop initiative, a modular program featuring a customized selling environment. Designed to accommodate any retail situation, the first shop, an eight-foot Sebago-branded unit, was installed at ShoeMart in Norwalk, CT last week. The program features a wall display unit and footwear fixture elements with distinctive Sebago materials in a nautical color palette. The Shop-In-Shop retail program was developed to delivers increased sales through visual impact, a focused selling environment and a comfortable atmosphere for customer interaction. Sebago plans to expand its Shop-In-Shop program in 2005 with valued retail partners throughout the US.

Bass Pro Shops will locate its first California store at a new lifestyle center development in Manteca, CA. Plans call for Bass Pro Shops to anchor The Promenade Shops at Orchard Falls, a 700,000-square-foot regional lifestyle center. The store is tentatively scheduled to open with the center's grand opening in fall 2007.

Walrus, a new advertising agency headed by former Mad Dogs & Englishmen creative director Deacon Webster, opened its doors in mid-June with Wacoal Sports Science Corp.'s CW-X Performance Conditioning Wear as one its founding clients.

Dynamic Brands, the parent company of The Bag Boy Co., The Baby Jogger Co., AMF Golf, and manufacturer of the David Leadbetter-developed Swing Setter, announced that all divisions have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility in Richmond, VA. It has moved operations to a new 21,000-square-foot facility. Dynamic Brands new address is 8575 Magellan Parkway, Suite 1000, Richmond, VA 23227.

310 Motoring is partnering with multi-platinum hip-hop superstar The Game to create a signature sneaker line under the name "Hurricane by 310." Hurricane will be 310 Motoring's first foray into athletic shoes. The sneaker is due out for the 2005 Holiday season at select retail stores. In addition to the street athletic sneaker, 310 Motoring will launch a “Hurricane” performance basketball shoe in 1Q06.

Brunswick Corp. named Mercury Marine manager Sean Cummings president of Brunswick Billiards. Cummings is replacing John Stransky, who in February was promoted to president of Brunswick Bowling and Billiards. Cummings most recently served as managing director of Teignbridge Propellers Ltd., a unit of Mercury Marine.

True North Communications held its TrendCast exhibition in NYC last week. Among the interesting items:
* Native Eyewear guarantees its sunglasses with a lifetime warranty. For a $20 processing fee, everything, including scratched lenses, is covered. There is free return shipping. A retail sales contest offers any salesperson the choice of any of four prizes for every nine pairs of Native sunglasses sold. See www.nativeyewear.com;
* SteriPEN is a portable water purifier that uses ultraviolet light to destroy waterborne microbes, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa. See www.steripen.com;
* K Concepts showed the Ball Claw. It holds basketball securely and can be attached to garage walls, car trunks, walls and gums. Coming soon: Claws

Eddie Bauer Inc. emerged from Spiegel's Chapter 11 reorganization process under a newly formed parent company, Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. It was previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Spiegel Inc., which filed for bankruptcy March 17, 2003.

Three industry firms made the Forbes Small Business Top 100 list: Lowrance (#14); Collegiate Pacific (#22); and Rocky Shoes & Boots (#46).

Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of four industry stocks. Nike and Reebok were rated overweight. According to the analysts, Nike is well placed to benefit from the growth in its core consumer population in the US, Latin America and Asia. The continued consolidation in Nike's apparel OEM base is likely to have a positive impact on the company's margins going forward. Foot Locker was rated equal-weight; and The Finish Line was rated underweight.

The Sports Authority is on the Reuters Select Consensus Choices screen. This screen indicates bullish, and improving, Wall Street sentiment concerning the company's equities. Reuters noted: "…(I)t seems like company-specific issues have hindered its growth in the last few years, and that the situation should improve for it going forward. Given an attractive price, now might be the time to consider it."


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Television advertising
Customer service

Saucony Inc.
Sporting Essentials
Stride Rite Inc.
Gander Mountain Inc.

Sporting Essentials
parent company
selling environment
male runner
travel company

Brett Russell
Don Shapero
Mark Baker
Mike Schoby
Dave Nabity

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