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Mon, Aug 28, 2017
Vol 1, Issue No. 33
Monday, March 12, 2018
Volume 2, Issue No. 10

Millennials Will Lift Brunswick Fitness

Brunswick Corp. will spin-off its portfolio of six fitness brands into a $1.03 billion, publicly traded commercial fitness company by the end of its Q1/2019. The emerging entity will be well-capitalized with a strong balance sheet and a disciplined and balanced capital strategy, BC senior executives recently told attendees at a Raymond James institutional investors conference.

Brunswick Fitness—consisting of the Life Fitness, Cybex, SCIFIT, Hammer Strength, Indoor Cycling and Brunswick brands—will target commercial clubs and vertical markets for topline expansion. In the $1.9 billion global club segment, Brunswick, which already owns an estimated 28 percent of the market, sees boutiques and budget clubs as the fastest-growing areas. It is forecasting low-single digit sales growth for the segment. Meanwhile, on the $1.5 billion global vertical fitness segment, topline is expected to increase mid-single digits, helped by expanding corporate and multi-housing segments.

Clearly, Millennials will be a key to growth in the worldwide fitness industry, which BC describes as healthy. Current statistics show that 81 percent of Millennials have an affinity for exercises versus only 61 percent of the older Baby Boomer set. Key trends driving the commercial fitness landscape, as outlined by the company, include: functional training, group exercise and demand for engaging digital experiences.

Geographically, Brunswick Fitness is likely to experience faster growth in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa/Middle East and less so in the mature U.S. market where the company already owns 54 percent of the market. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 15 percent of 2017 segment revenues despite the Brunswick fitness brands having less than 1 percent penetration in China health clubs versus 19 percent at U.S. clubs.

Ahead of the formal spin-off, Brunswick Corp. is targeting low-single digit revenue growth and about a flat operating margin of 10.4 percent in 2018. Last year, the Fitness business experienced 5 percent revenue growth to $1.03 billion but suffered a 290 basis point slip in operating margin to 10.4 percent. The 2018-2020 growth plan for Fitness calls for a revenue CAGR of 5-7 percent and operating margin expansion of 100-200 basis points.

Elsewhere in fitness,
Nautilus got a big lift from its Direct segment, via a 10 percent sales increase fueled by strong sales of the Bowflex MaxTrainer line and a sales increase from the Bowflex Hybrid Velocity Trainer, to achieve flat annual sales of $406.2 million. The company said commercial and specialty within its Retail segment continued to experience weakness. NLS intends to explore omnichannel options for the HVT this year. Additionally, the company is consolidating its Nautilus and Octane Fitness international sales teams and making investments in infrastructure and global distribution as it aims to double its international revenue to $60 million by 2020. Additionally, Nautilus is consolidating its warehouses and realigning its supply base as it aims for all global facilities servicing all of its brands by year-end.

• Torque Fitness is introducing the X-Create, a customizable, versatile combined training and storage system for health clubs, fitness studios and training centers at IHRSA in San Diego later this month.

Rubin May Be Bidder for NFL Team; Ibex Sold to Flourfund

Michael Rubin, 45, the billionaire owner of Fanatics whose has financial stakes in the NBA’s 76ers and NHL’s Devils, is reportedly interested in making a serious run at NFL ownership. Multiple reports yesterday, including one from the Charlotte Observer, said Rubin has emerged as one of eight potential bidders for the Carolina Panthers. Others include hedge fund manager David Tepper and North Carolina businessman Felix Sabates.

The Panthers are expected to fetch between $2- $2.3 billion in a sale and Rubin’s reported net worth by Forbes is said to be $3 billion. Fanatics operates the NFL’s online store but that would not be seen as conflict of interest in any Rubin offer for the team, which would likely include additional ownership partners in the group.

In unrelated breaking news, New York investment group Flourfund last week bought the intellectual property and assets of Vermont-founded merino apparel maker Ibex. The new owners are expected to resurrect the brand through a combination of director-to-consumer sales and licensing. Ibex was founded in 1997.

Latest Shots Fired in Debate Over Guns

From state legislatures and retail chains to high school classrooms, the White House and the corporate boardrooms, the public debate over firearm use and regulations continued across the U.S. last week, three weeks after the Feb. 14 high school shootings in Parkland, FL left 17 students dead.

Florida, Oregon and Delaware lawmakers are proposing state legislation. Gov. John Carney is behind part of a bill that would ban the sale of high-power rifles in the Diamond State. Sunshine State legislators, meanwhile, in opposition to the National Rifle Association, passed a $400 million gun control and school safety bill by a vote of 67-50 on March 7. Signed into law by Republican Gov. Rick Scott on March 9, it will raise the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21; impose a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases; ban bump stocks; fund school police officers and mental health counselors; and allow school districts to arm certain personnel. Oregon, meanwhile, will reportedly introduce a bill during its 2019 session that will give retailers the ability to draft their own policy on firearms “based on a public safety front.”

Elsewhere in retail, L.L. Bean, following the lead of Dick’s and Walmart, said it would no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21. DKS, meanwhile, received a resignation letter from an avid hunter and 20-year old staffer. Griffin McCullar said he found his employer’s new stance on firearms, “morally and constitutionally wrong. I refuse to be part of a corporation with these liberal policies.”

Hundreds of miles north in Massachusetts, a Bass Pro Shop adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro abruptly canceled a concealed carry ‘fashion show’ and fundraiser at its store citing “unforeseen circumstances.” The cancelled event’s co-host, the online group Massachusetts Women Gun Owners, said they would work to find another venue for the “entertaining yet educational” event highlighting firearms, holsters, personal safety products and (concealed carry) apparel.

Across the Bay State in Springfield, American Outdoor Brands, parent of Smith & Wesson and other firearms brands, publicly responded to a March 1 inquiry by Blackrock. In a nine-page response to the investment group, AOB said it respected the national debate that is currently underway regarding firearms and safety, shared the national grief “over the incomprehensible and senseless loss of life” in Parkland and “share the desire to make our communities safer.”

AOB Chairman Barry M. Monheit and President and CEO James Debney said they believe “the best way to stop the criminal use of firearms and the violence associated with it, is to enforce the laws that already exist, and to focus stronger efforts on prosecuting those who break them.”

After citing several ways it promotes the legal and safe use of firearms, including its support of the National Criminal Instant Background Check System and the National Shooting Sports Foundation and its firearms safety initiatives, AOB said it was not opposed to the development of “authorized user recognition” or so-called “smart gun” technology in the firearms industry, but would be opposed to any legislation that would require the use of such technology.

“We must collectively have the courage to ensure any actions are guided by data, by facts, and by what will actually make use safer—not by what is easy, expedient, or reads well in a headline,” AOB wrote in conclusion.

Meanwhile, in Washington, President Trump met with representatives from the video-game industry last week, suggesting violent games may be contributing to mass shootings since they were “shaping young people’s thoughts” and indicating that greater federal oversight and regulation is a possible solution.

Acushnet Making Investments in Tech, Automation

By 20henksc (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Titleist and FootJoy parent is raising its capital investment budgets for innovation, technology and automation in 2018 after reporting an 18 percent gain in FY17 operating income and a less than 1 percent drop in total revenues to $1.56 billion. FootJoy shoes and apparel represented 28 percent of the total, or $437.5 million in revenues.

President and CEO David Maher told analysts last week that the Fairhaven, MA company is “optimistic about the structural improvements that have taken place” in the U.S. golf market over the last several years with the supply side rationalization “painful but a long-term positive for the golf industry long-term.”

Both the on-course channel and golf specialty retailers have benefitted from Golfsmith’s departure from the market. In FY17, Acushnet’s U.S. golf revenues dipped 1.8 percent to $789.9 million. The company is maintaining its focus on the dedicated player, a group that represents 15 percent of all golfers but is responsible for 70 percent of all purchases.

“(U.S.) field inventories are healthy if not lean by historical standards,” Maher remarked. “And golfers continue to adapt their purchasing habits to align with what has become golf retail’s new normal.”

Elsewhere around the world, Acushnet sees the Japan golf market continuing to move toward customization. Japanese revenues dipped 4.6 percent in constant currency to $201.3 million in FY17. Meanwhile, the Korean golf market, where Acushnet realized more than 11 percent constant currency growth in FY17 to $200.4 million, is said to be both vibrant with both strong participation and retail sales.

In other golf news,
Golf Datatech has released a study that specifically highlights the effects Amazon is having on today’s golf apparel market. The 2018 Amazon Impact Report-Golf Apparel, on the heels of a similar report in January that analyzed Amazon’s impact on golf equipment, analyzes the attitudes and opinions of 1,200 serious golfers about their overall shopping experience and their respective perception of Amazon as a retailer of golf apparel.

The Buzz

Gear Coop, the nine-year old outdoor gear retailer founded by industry veteran Terry Lee, hires former Sport Chalet Chairman and CEO Craig Levra as president. Gear Coop has grown to more than $22 million in annual revenue by focusing on a sales model that embraces ecommerce while also acknowledging the needs of brick-and-mortar customers. 

Left: Phil Gaimon, Right: Sam Appleton (Photo Credit: Jesper-Gronnemark)

Kopin Corp., building on its association with USA Cycling, by signing professional cyclist Phil Gaimon and ten-time IRONMAN 70.3 champion Sam Appleton to its team.

Sneaker4Funds, an independent company in the portfolio of Elsey Enterprises that is the largest shoe drive fundraising company in the U.S., hires Rob Sahlin to lead and direct the venture. Also, the Orlando company, which recently underwent an extensive rebranding and launched a new website (, has introduced a national “prepaid shipping bag” strategy for road races, running stores and running clubs. Supporters directly send gently worn used and new athletic shoes to Sneakers4Funds, and a check is issued to a designated charity.

Tubes of the Week

Guy Yehiav
The CEO of Profitect addresses the right medicine for changing the paradigm of accountability—prescriptive analytics.


Numbers In Play
The Sports Insight Index is our opinion of what we think are the 30 most important public companies in the industry, 15 vendors and 15 retailers. Space considerations prevent us from tracking more, but we will make changes over time.
Index base of 100 is key to the closing prices of 12/31/14
Dow rose 1.2 percent for the period (although it was up another 1.47 percent on March 9 alone) versus flat for the segment as only three stocks rose, and a dozen fell. Foot Locker was the biggest decliner. FL shares have been in the red for the last 15 weeks. Dick’s, according to Reveal Mobile as reported by the New York Post, got a traffic bounce after the chain’s recent policy changes involving guns. Store traffic was up 9 percent over two weekends in Florida and 14.6 and 4.6 percent, respectively in New York State and California. Shoe Carnival, which reports year-end results March 27, sees its stock downgraded to hold by Zacks. Camping World sees BMO Capital raise its CWH target price to $62 and put an “outperform” on the stock. Hibbett Sports’ shares dipped 8.35 percent on March 8, the final day of the period. Finish Line’s foundation donated more than $386,000 to charities in the fourth quarter. The U.S. government, meanwhile, says more than 50,000 retail jobs were added in February.
Segment was up less than 1 percent for the period despite 11 gainers and only four decliners. GoPro reportedly has no serious bidders although ‘lots of people’ have kicked the tires on the company, which sold 4.3 million action cameras in 2017. Acushnet proclaims an improved U.S. golf market and offers a positive outlook on the EMEA, Japan and South Korea. Adidas signs on as exclusive footwear and apparel supplier to Pacific Pro Football, a new development league for players not eligible for the NFL Draft that will begin play in Summer 2019. PPF is brainchild of Don Yee, sports agent to Tom Brady. Inquiring minds want to know—Has Under Armour lost the endorsement rights to young New York Yankee slugger Aaron Judge, signed by the company as a minor leaguer in 2014, to rival Adidas? Or, are the Three Stripes being donned by Judge during spring training a negotiating tactic? VF Corp. hires Velia Carboni, a former, 25+ year executive for Fidelity, as chief digital officer. Fitbit’s new, ‘mass appeal’ smartwatch may be called The Versa. No projected retail price point for the device has been disclosed yet.





Retail Name (Ticker Symbol)
Close on 03/01/17
Close on 03/08/18
% change over week
Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV)
Sports Direct (LON: SPD)
Camping World (CWH)
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
Finish Line (FINL)
Foot Locker (FL)
Genesco (GCO)
Hibbett Sports (HIBB)
Kohl’s (KSS)
Macy’s (M)
Sportsman’s Warehouse (SPWH)
Shoe Carnival (SCVL)
Tilly’s (TLYS)
Walmart (WMT)
Zumiez (ZUMZ)
Brand Name (Ticker Symbol)
Close on 03/01/17
Close on 03/08/18
% change over week
Acushnet Holdings (GOLF)
adidas (ADDYY)
Amer Sports (AGPDY)
Callaway (ELY)
Columbia Sportwear (COLM)
Deckers Brands (DECK)
Fitbit (FIT)
GoPro (GPRO)
lululemon (LULU)
Nautilus (NLS)
Nike (NKE)
Skechers (SKX)
Under Armour (UA)
VF Corp. (VFC)
Wolverine Worldwide (WWW)

Sports Insight Extra Podcast Series

Nikki Barua

The old way of retail is dead, and there is a massive opportunity to re-invent, proclaims the CEO of Beyond Curious in Los Angeles.

Matt O’Toole

President of Reebok dishes on the brand’s mission and objectives from its headquarters in Boston.

Gabriella Santaniello

Retail expert dishes on what’s going right and wrong in industry today and weighs in on the Walmart vs. Amazon tussle.

Guy Yehiav

The CEO of Profitect addresses the right medicine for changing the paradigm of accountability—prescriptive analytics.

Pat Ryan

Batter Up! The global product director for baseball/softball at Wilson Sports details the new USA Baseball standard that took effect January 1 and what it means when you hit the store this spring looking for a new stick for junior.

Patrick Clark

President of Nextwave, a Buford, GA system integrator, discusses benefits of an on-demand apparel microfactory, a bridge to Just In Time manufacturing, from Sourcing at MAGIC in Las Vegas.

Shawn McBride

Ketchum Sports & Entertainment EVP talks Olympics—impact of three consecutive Games in Asia, social media, corporate guerilla marketing and drawing in younger consumers.

Tyson McGuffin

Tennis pro Tyson McGuffin, 28, talks about the rising popularity of pickleball and how he became a champion in the sport.

Bob Mullaney

The 20-year shoe and retail industry veteran, recently named president and CEO of RG Brands, dishes on the comfort footwear business and Barry’s iconic Dearfoams brand.

Bob Smith

The design consultant who began his 20-year career as a graphic artist for Nike dishes on the blur between lifestyle and performance and the importance of Struktur, the creative conference for active, outdoor and urban design.

Rob & Mike Barnes

The co-founders of Selkirk Sports, a Hayden, ID maker of Pickleball paddles and accessories, dish on the rise of the sport that counted 2.5 million participants in 2015.

Brendan Candon

CEO of SidelineSwap, an online marketplace for used sports gear and equipment, dishes on the market and whether it steps on the toes of traditional, full-line retailers.

Dave McGillivray

The long-time race director and long-distance runner weighs in on marathon participation, the future of event marketing and his latest venture that may bring a marathon to a MLB ballpark near you.

Paul Froio

Reebok’s VP of U.S. Retail and Direct-to-Consumer channels talks about the company’s new South Boston headquarters and adjacent global flagship store.

Aquiles M. Bermùdez P.

The former president of the Dominican Association of Free Zone Companies and current member of the National Commission of Footwear addresses the industry, Dominican Republic’s infrastructure and Footwear Technology Institute.

W. Andrew Martin

The managing director for Baird in Charlotte, NC discusses the M&A climate, consumer loyalty to brands today and the impact of private label.

Mark Sullivan

The president of Formula4Media, LLC previews The Running Event conference and trade show set for November 28-December 1 in Austin, Texas.

Bryan Smeltzer

The general manager of Zamst Americas talks sports protectives, dispelling some of the consumer and athlete misconceptions about the category.

Emily Walzer

Formula4Media colleagues Emily Walzer, Textile Insight editor, Jennifer Beaudry-Ernst, footwear specialist, and contributor Kurt Gray, owner of SimplyGrayDesign, dish on key trends from the final Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City.

Judith A. Russell

Shifting consumer purchasing patterns are vital to understanding today’s marketplace. Russell, a marketing and strategic planning professional, offered up her thoughts at TexWorld in New York on a panel with Sports Insight Extra’s Bob McGee.

Will Decker

Family-owned Silicon Valley firm Plug and Play, which dubs itself the “Ultimate Startup Ecosystem,” has raised over $6 billion in venture funding during its 11 years while bringing corporations, venture capitalists and start-ups together.

Matthew Lyon

In the fragmented hydration market, where price points for performance products are on the rise, HydraPak is an OE supplier to numerous brands and has its own lightweight, flexible products.

Eric Hayes

Superfeet Celebrates 40th Anniversary. The employee-owned company introduces footwear and rolls out a 3D printed insole program.

Shawn Neville

BOA introduces New Tech and Names New CEO. Nothing will constrict Boa Technology CEO Shawn Neville from helping the Denver company improve its customized fit solution.

Waingarten and Frydlewski

No strings attached. The married Argentinean couple has raised nearly $20 million for Hickies, a Brooklyn company addressing how athletic shoes are closed around the foot two eyelets at a time.

Michelle Carmichael

The Co-founder and Managing Partner of Partners Growth, which brings premium brands into the U.S. market, talks Finnish children’s wear brand Reima. 

Brian Beckstead

Six-year old Altra is teaming with Utah State University to develop outdoor design talent.

Declan Condron

Let's Go Hyperwear: Former Equinox personal trainer merges the innovative, functional fitness gear from Austin, TX company with programming for schools, camps and institutions.

Hugues Gontier

Sly and Simple. and its technology enable a retailer to interact with customers in store and track traffic. No beacon required. The CMO explains the benefits of the platform.

Reza Raji

The CEO of Xenio Systems talks about the company’s new platform that tracks where shoppers spend time in physical stores and its patented hyper-positioning technology.

Jacob Torres Espino

The director of export promotion for Mexico’s Guanajuato State government agency addresses the proposed impact of the Border Adjustment Tax by the U.S. and the possibility of a renegotiated NAFTA free trade agreement.

Isabelle Ohnemus

The founder and CEO of EyeFitU, a former investment banker, talks ‘glocal’ assortments, shoppers’ personal sizing and global web payment options.

Tom Cove #2

The president and CEO of the SFIA addresses the most serious threat the industry has faced in the past half-century and the expected re-introduction of the PHIT Act by Congress.

Matteo Scarparo

The Italian global trade expert in footwear talks about the present and future of TheMicam trade show and the potential impact of a Border Adjustment Tax in the U.S. on imported shoes.

Dr. James Eakin

Dr. James Eakin, chief marketing officer and director of U.S. operations for Xenoma, discusses the Japan company’s e-skin shirt and entire wearable category.

Rusty Saunders

Industry senior statesman Rusty Saunders dishes on industry leadership, pressing issues and the inactivity pandemic.

Barbara Barclay

Expert Barbara Barclay, president of RightEye, talks eye-tracking technology and her company’s recent alliance with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.

Julie Sylvester

Julie Sylvester, Executive Producer at Living in Digital Times, talks trends likely to emerge at Sports and FitnessTech Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer, Founder and CEO of BoxFox, talks excess inventory and solutions for vendors, retailers and distributors.

Susie McCabe

Susie McCabe, SVP of global retail for Under Armour who previously spent 16 years at The Ralph Lauren Corp., dishes on UA’s retail strategy and new Brand House in Boston.

Tom Cove

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Rich Harper

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Stephen Lamar

On the eve of Election Day, we talk to three leading industry lobbyists on how the results may impact trade in the sporting goods, outdoor and apparel and footwear industries.

Bill McInnis

The president of Reebok Future discusses the intent of the unit and the brand’s plans to develop footwear in a new way.

Tom Fowler

Polar USA CEO Tom Fowler talks technology and the future of smart wearables.

Paul Schille

TREW CEO Paul Schille dishes on the eight-year old company in the process of completing its Series A round of funding and his dual career.

Jason Kaplan

Milestone Sports CEO Jason Kaplan dishes on the company’s low-cost, wearable pod and how it will help specialty retailers connect.

Duncan Finigan

OOFOS marketing executive talks about the recovery footwear brand and candidly about her courageous personal health journey.

Matt Priest

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America President Matt Priest the likelihood of the Trans-Pacific Partnership being passed soon.

David and Josh Higgins

ING Source executives dish about compression technology and the Hickory, NC company’s breakthrough OS1st Brace Layer System.

Charles Liberge

Jones & Vining’s Charles Liberge addresses strategies and directions for the iconic brand.

Jim Baugh

PHIT America’s Jim Baugh dishes on the inactivity pandemic.

Sue Dooley and John Daher

Rockport Group senior executives talk about the brand’s fresh start under new ownership that has a major emphasis on versatility.

Josh Shaw

Mission Athletecare CEO Josh Shaw says thermoregulation is the New York company’s singular focus.

Tim Porth

Tim Porth of Octane Fitness talks trends, Zero Runner and the company’s January acquisition by Nautilus Inc.

David Costello

The principal and founder of Rising Tide Associates talks about industry advocate lobbying for the domestic textile and footwear industries.

Steven D’Angelo

The ‘47 brand executive dishes on the Boston company and long-time MLB licensee founded by his father Arthur and his late Uncle Henry.

Pam Gelsomini and CB Tuite

Pam Gelsomini, president, and CB Tuite, VP–sales, discuss the company’s products, partnerships and what’s new for the season ahead.

Kenneth G. Andres

The tradeshowdirector for the American Sportfishing Association casts comments on the activity’s popularity, and trends in fishing.

Dick Sullivan

The principal and founder of Rising Tide Associates talks about industry advocate lobbying for the domestic textile.

Dave Coradini

The VP of sales and sponsorships for Spalding, Dave Coradini talks Shot Tracker and basketball.

Scott McGuire

The executive brand and product innovation leader dishes to F4M’s Emily Walzer on an array of topics.

Kelly Davis

Snow Sports Industries of America’s Kelly Davis talks weather, participation trends and how to handle the psyche.

Kevin Davis

The CEO of Performance Sports Group dishes on new bat standards and Own the Moment.

Gene McCarthy, Pt 2

Gene McCarthy, president of Asics America, speaks to Jen Ernst Beaudry on specialty run and more in the second part of the podcast.

Gene McCarthy, Pt 1

Gene McCarthy, new president of Asics Americas, dishes to F4M’s Jen Ernst Beaudry in the first of a two-part podcast.

Richie Woodworth

Saucony’s Richie Woodworth offers his views on brand’s running business and what it takes to manage through change.

Bruce Cazenave

Bruce Cazenave, CEO of Nautilus Inc., recently ranked 23rd on Fortune’s “Fastest Growing Companies” list.

Tony Armand

Armand is leading USB, created after the April merger of Shock Doctor and McDavid.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith has been at the helm of the Lawrence, MA firm for three years, and his 2016 strategies will broaden Polartec’s scope.

Marty Hanaka

City Sports CEO Marty Hanaka has 42 years in retail, starting at Sears in 1973.

Mike Dowse

Wilson Sporting Goods, one year removed from its 100th anniversary and a major restructuring, has a renewed focus and strategy.