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DECEMBER 28, 2005 -- Thomas Weisel Partners -- an underwriter in Under Armour's IPO -- started covering the stock Wednesday with a rating of "peer perform," meaning the analyst expects the firm to perform at a level close to the average for similar firms he or she covers. Last week, Credit Suisse First Boston started coverage of Under Armour at "outperform," similar to a buy rating. Shares were running up about 9 percent Wednesday on the ratings climb. CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer also published a bullish commentary on Under Armour.

Under Armour shares nearly doubled in the company's November 18 IPO - the first American stock to double during its debut in five years. The stock is trading at a stratospheric 69 times earnings for the last 12 months, according to data from Capital IQ.


Dick's topped all other sporting goods chains in a customer service opinion survey from Corporate Research International.

According to the inaugural report, 'Real People Ratings Best of 2005, the top three in the sporting goods category were Dick's, followed by Foot Locker, and Finish Line.

Real People Ratings was launched this year by Corporate Research International, a market research firm specializing in mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys. The company sends the quarterly online opinion polls to its pool of mystery shoppers, or auditors. The survey was conducted in May, August and December 2005, each time generating more than 8,000 responses. Respondents were asked to rate their perception of each business's customer service on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest rating.

Winners in other categories included:
* Department Stores: 1. Nordstrom 2. Saks Fifth Avenue 3. Bloomingdale's;
* Fast Food: 1. Subway 2. Quizno's 3. Sonic;
* Full-service Restaurants: 1. Olive Garden 2. Texas Roadhouse 3. Cracker Barrel;
* Pizza Chains: 1. Cici's Pizza 2. Papa Murphy's 3. Papa John's;
* Convenience Stores: 1. BP 2. Chevron/Texaco 3. Shell;
* Home Improvement: 1. Ace Hardware 2. True Value 3. Lowe's;
* Electronics: 1. Best Buy 2. Radio Shack 3. Circuit City.


eBags Inc., the retailer of bags and shoes online, announced record holiday sales with an increase of 42% over 2004. Trends that emerged over the holiday season were an increase in sales of handbags, laptop cases, and travel accessories. 6pm.com, a newly launched e-commerce site from eBags, experienced exceptional growth, up 123% since its launch November 14, 2005. The site, formerly Shoedini.com, combines patent-pending guided navigation and search tools with some of the latest in Web 2.0 technology to make shopping for shoes and bags participatory, community-driven and faster than ever before.

Says Jon Nordmark, CEO of eBags, Inc. "The growth is primarily due to the launch of our new website, 6pm.com and the incredible growth of eBags UK, up 665%. We are always looking for new technological innovations to make shopping for shoes and bags easy and fun for our customers."

Goody's Family Clothing Inc. went private in a $327 million buyout by two private investment companies. Prentice Capital Management and GMM Capital said shareholders controlling 95.4% of Goody's 34.1 million shares accepted their $9.60-a-share cash offer. This included Robert Goodfriend, chairman, director and CEO, who's family controlled a 42 % stake in the company. He will now resign from the company founded by his father in 1953. Isaac Dabah, a principal with GMM Capital and a founder of Gitano and The Children's Place, will succeed Goodfriend as director and chairman. Also joining the board will be Michael Zimmerman of Prentice Capital Management, the other acquiring company.


The Adidas Men's a3 Megaride Running Shoe was the top seller in shoes this past holiday season at Amazon.com. In second and third place in the shoe category were Kenneth Cole's Men's Groovy Nights, and Adidas Men's a3 Ultimate Power Training Shoe. In Sports & Outdoors, the top-selling items were the Diamond Gen IV- Rechargeable No Battery Forever LED Shake Flashlight, the Wenzel Nova Sport 6'x5' 2 person Dome Tent, and the Halex 64302 Alpha LCD Dartboard. Invicta's Men's Automatic Pro Diver S2 was the most popular watch. Amazon's results were based on orders placed between Nov. 25 through Dec. 22.


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Categories
Fast food restaurants
Customer service
Bags
Research
Pizza

Companies
Armour
Thomas Weisel Partners LLC
Corporate Research International
Credit Suisse First Boston AS
eBags Inc.

Concepts
SPORTING GOODS
customer service
holiday season
customer service opinion survey
mystery shopping

People
Jim Cramer
Robert Goodfriend
Papa Murphy
Papa John
Jon Nordmark





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