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  • Roger Yao

Fitness Equipment Industry News- Week 42


Fitness equipment industry news

1. FORME acquired vertical climber brand, CLMBR, aiming for commercial sector


Interactive Strength, the renowned fitness screen producer behind FORME, has unveiled its strategic acquisition plans for the vertical climber brand, CLMBR. This undisclosed transaction is a pivotal move in Interactive Strength's mission to pivot toward the commercial fitness sector, presenting a comprehensive, interconnected exercise solution that will seamlessly integrate the company's virtual personal training services.

Forme acquired Clmbr

In this exciting endeavor, Interactive Strength will join forces with the iconic treadmill manufacturer, Woodway, who serves as CLMBR's commercial distribution partner. This collaboration aims to expand Interactive Strength's influence across gym facilities, health clubs, and the thriving hospitality sector.


Trent Ward, the co-founder and CEO of FORME, is enthusiastic about the prospects of this acquisition, anticipating immediate scalability across various business functions, ranging from sales and engineering to logistics and supply chain management. Furthermore, it promises to diversify revenue streams significantly, driven by the remarkable growth of its business-to-business (B2B) channels.


Ward commented, "We believe this will be a transformational acquisition that can accelerate the company’s commercialization path. We expect this transaction can help us achieve immediate scale across all of our cost centers, resulting in a high-growth, profitable platform that sells connected fitness equipment and digital fitness services across B2B and B2C channels."


He also emphasized the shared vision to broaden their reach into commercial and medical sectors with the CLMBR 02, a product that recently began shipping following rigorous in-house testing, incorporating invaluable feedback from their dedicated customer base.


Partnering with Woodway for sales and distribution is a strategic masterstroke, as Woodway boasts a seasoned domestic and international sales team and a stellar reputation for delivering top-tier fitness equipment. This acquisition is a testament to meticulous strategic planning, delivering financial growth through cost synergies, opening up an advantageous route to market via Woodway, and steering the business's core focus toward B2B operations. Additionally, the acquisition encompasses a complementary product offering with a valuable patent portfolio.


Interactive Strength is a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq stock market, and the binding acquisition agreement with CLMBR is in motion. The two companies are progressing towards finalizing the transaction, with the anticipated completion set for the fourth quarter of 2023, pending the fulfillment of closing conditions. This union is poised to usher in a new era of innovation and growth in the fitness industry.


2. UK's First 50-and-Over Fitness Competition Inspires Active Aging


In a groundbreaking event believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, a competition was hosted in partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to promote physical activity among individuals aged 50 and beyond.

Gym user over 50+

Stephen Rowe, Chief Marketing Officer at PureGym, expressed their motivation, stating, "We aimed to create an event that celebrates individuals in their fifties and beyond who are already leading active lives while inspiring those who may feel it's too late to start."


The competition was divided into two segments. The first phase tested participants' strength, challenging them to lift the highest percentage of their body weight across three significant lifts: the bench press, front squat, and deadlift.


The second segment, called the 'Full Body Fitness Sprint,' combined endurance, power, and mobility. It featured a race to the finish line that incorporated running, rowing, and functional exercises like sled pushes and farmers' carries.


Notable achievements in the competition included Clifford Macduff, a 62-year-old from London, who lifted an impressive 220kg deadlift, equivalent to 234% of his body weight. Noreen Kay, aged 58, demonstrated her strength with a 52.5kg bench press, representing 79% of her body weight.


In the Full Body Fitness Sprint, which included a 1km run and 1km row, along with sled pushes, farmers' carries, and a 500m ski-erg race, Steven Price from Gloucester recorded the fastest time, completing the challenge in just 11 minutes and 23 seconds.


Sophie Overall, Partnerships Manager at BHF, emphasized the competition's significance, stating, "This competition beautifully illustrates that age is merely a number, and with the right support, anyone can embark on their fitness journey."


Research has shown that individuals over the age of 50 tend to be more loyal gym members, offering greater long-term value, and they attend more regularly than their younger counterparts. From a commercial standpoint, this initiative aligns with PureGym's goal of deepening engagement with members and prospective members within this age group.


3. Basic-Fit Expands to Ávila, Surpassing 140 Gyms in Spain


Basic-Fit, the prominent fitness chain, has made its debut in Ávila, Spain, marking the opening of a new gym and elevating its network to a total of 140 facilities in the country. The relentless expansion drive aligns with the chain's ambitious objective of establishing between 450 and 650 gyms across Spain.

Basic fit gym club

Basic-Fit's remarkable growth in Spain continues unabated as the brand extends its presence to Ávila, a location it had yet to explore. The freshly unveiled gym solidifies Basic-Fit's reach, now boasting 140 gyms in Spain. Just earlier this October, the chain inaugurated its 139th gym in Malaga, underscoring its vigorous expansion momentum.


Recalling the chain's remarkable progress, it is worth noting that in September alone, Basic-Fit successfully launched a total of 22 gyms in Spain, setting an industry record. The recent expansion in Ávila marks the 48th new establishment unveiled in Spain this year.


Remaining Committed to Ambitious Goals


Impressive as these numbers may be, Basic-Fit remains steadfast in its commitment to establish between 450 and 650 operating clubs in Spain and between 3,000 and 3,500 across Europe by the year 2030.


Basic-Fit's gyms, each spanning between 1,000 and 2,000 square meters, are equipped with state-of-the-art machines and offer seven distinct training areas, GXR collective classes, and the convenience of the Basic-Fit app. The app provides members access to more than 150 workouts, allowing them to train at their convenience and location of choice.


Notably, Basic-Fit is dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility, offering specialized training programs for pregnant women and planning to introduce additional programs that make fitness more accessible and inclusive. Sebastien Taylor, the Director of Operations of Basic-Fit in Spain, stated, "Our challenge is to bring this club concept to as many people as possible, offering accessible, modern, and quality centers for all our members, where training is easy and fun."


4. Decathlon Expands its Reach: Announces First Store Opening in British Columbia


Decathlon, the global sporting goods giant, is set to make its mark in British Columbia with the opening of its flagship store in spring 2024. This much-anticipated launch will take place at Metropolis at Metrotown, marking Decathlon's debut in British Columbia and becoming its 19th store in Canada. Leading up to the grand store opening, Decathlon will treat shoppers to a sneak peek with a pop-up shop at Metropolis at Metrotown in late October.


With over 1,700 stores in more than 60 countries, Decathlon's Canadian journey commenced in 2018, and since then, it has been expanding its presence across Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.


Decathlon store in Canada

The highly regarded Metropolis at Metrotown, a major regional shopping complex housing more than 330 stores, made the official announcement about Decathlon's store opening in a recent press release.


Amanda Chung, Marketing Manager of Metropolis at Metrotown, expressed her excitement, saying, "Metropolis at Metrotown is a place for everyone, across all walks of life. We are so excited to welcome Decathlon, a brand that has built an incredible reputation for providing high-quality sports products at affordable prices. This marks another step forward in our quest to deliver an elevated shopping experience and diverse retail offering to our guests."


Guillaume Hautson, Regional Manager of British Columbia at Decathlon, also shared his thoughts on this exciting development, stating, "It has been a long journey, but it's now official: Decathlon will serve Canada from coast to coast. Metro Vancouver is an inspiring place to be. Along with other players, Decathlon will contribute to this landscape by making sports more accessible for Vancouverites. In our stores, across other provinces and even around the globe, we have strived to empower people from all walks of life to make sports their own. We are even more excited that this adventure begins with Metropolis at Metrotown, a legendary mall in Canada. It is not only at the epicenter of the Greater Vancouver area but also allows us to meet and learn from the incredibly diverse communities of Burnaby."


Decathlon is known for its diverse product range, offering private-label items that cater to everyone, from entry-level sports enthusiasts to those seeking high-performance technical gear. In the United States, Decathlon continues to focus on online sales through its website, Decathlon.com, and partnerships with third-party marketplaces, including Target and Walmart.


It's worth noting that while Decathlon entered the U.S. market with the opening of several stores, the retailer closed its last two in 2021, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, their expansion in Canada continues to thrive.


5. iFIT and Freemotion Fitness Appoint Erik Richardson to Strengthen Operations and Quality Leadership


iFIT and Freemotion Fitness have reinforced their leadership team by appointing Erik Richardson as the Operations and Quality Director. This strategic move aims to enhance the operational excellence of the Freemotion brand, which serves as the commercial arm of the globally renowned fitness leader, iFIT, as they gear up for a significant period of expansion on a global scale.


Freemotion fitness new quality leader

In his new role, Richardson will assume the responsibility of overseeing Freemotion's manufacturing processes, with a strong emphasis on maintaining the highest standards of operational quality throughout the product portfolio. His mission is to preserve the exceptional quality and innovation that have positioned Freemotion as an industry leader in connected fitness solutions.


Based at iFIT's headquarters in Logan, Utah, Erik Richardson will report directly to Terry Davenport, the Vice President of Quality and Manufacturing, working under the leadership of Matt Bush, iFIT's Chief Operating Officer, and Mark Watterson, the CEO of iFIT Commercial.


Erik Richardson brings an impressive and diverse manufacturing background, ranging from metalworks and automotive safety to the e-commerce sector and protective packaging. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and holds an MBA from Utah State University.


Mark Watterson, CEO of iFIT Commercial, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, "We are thrilled to welcome Erik to the team. With his strong background in quality management, Erik will play a pivotal role in helping us not only meet but exceed our long-term goals. His expertise will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to our team, and we eagerly anticipate making significant strides with him on board."


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