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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Balance To Launch Girly-Girl Sneaker Line

by Sarah Mahoney, Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007 5:00 AM ET
ADD NEW BALANCE TO THE list of shoe marketers looking to branch out beyond performance shoes: The Boston-based company will launch NB Inside, a women's line of fashion sneakers next fall.

New Balance says its new line is key to its plans to reach $3 billion in sales by 2012. Executives say that over time they hope the new collection, with shoes priced around $125, will account for 25% of company sales.

The new strategy makes plenty of sense. New Balance, which also owns PF Flyers and Dunhams, is a brand best-known for its performance shoes, especially running, walking, and cross-training--all fairly stagnant categories of late. But the fashion category, or women's low-performance category, is tearing it up: NPD Group says that in the 12-month period ending in October, sales of women's low-performance athletic footwear increased 31.4% over the same 12-month period the prior year.

"This is the hottest segment in athletic footwear," says Matt Powell, senior research analyst for The SportsOneSource Group. "Right now, it's the second-largest selling category, behind running shoes." Skechers, with about 30% market share, continues to be the leader, he says, with Puma and Nike also top sellers.

Sales in the category are so strong, in fact, "that we've really broken the paradigm in athletic shoe marketing," he says. "For the last 30 years, it's always been about a sports-specific shoe. Maybe one year it was running shoes, and another year it was basketball. But this year, for the first time, it's not about a specific category." FULL STORY

Monday, December 17, 2007

The 768's are here!

The 760 series has a new model, the 768. This stability shoe has very good arch and midfoot support utilizing New Balance's TS2 technolgy. A soft heel strike and toe off the New Balance 768 is truely a runners' delight.

Please view the video below for detail descriptions of all the technolgies the New Balance 768 has to offer.

To see the Men's 768 click here
To see the Women's 768 click here

Friday, December 14, 2007

All American Football League Strikes Deal with New Balance

All American Football League Strikes Deal with New Balance to Provide On-Field Apparel
Deal Marks New Professional Football League's First Corporate Sponsorship

ATLANTA, GA – The All American Football League (AAFL) announced today that they have finalized the League's first corporate sponsorship deal with New Balance. New Balance will provide the new professional football league with footwear, on-field apparel and products for the League and its six teams.

The three-year $1.43M sponsorship agreement will commence November 27, 2007, and will include exclusive rights to produce, promote, sell and market all AAFL licensed on-field apparel, signage and advertising.

"We are committed to quality and development, and our partnership with the AAFL is an ideal next step for our team sports division," said Neil Brooks, New Balance Team Sports Specialist. "We look to the future constantly, and are thrilled about expanding our brand with the AAFL, its teams and its players."

The New Balance team sports division has been operating for four years, and the company's growth over the past few years has significantly out-paced that of the industry. Worldwide sales have grown from $221 million in 1992 to $1.55 billion in 2006.

"We could not be more excited to partner with one of the world's most dynamic and quality footwear and apparel companies," said Keenan Davis, VP of League Operations & COO of the AAFL. "New Balance is a leading brand in the sports world, and there is great synergy between our brands in terms of the dramatic growth potential that can be achieved through our partnership."

The All American Football League will play 10 games, beginning in April 2008. The spring schedule is designed to satisfy fans who hunger for quality football between the NFL and college seasons. The League's teams are located in avid college football markets representing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Balance aquires Vital Apparel Group

In a push to grow its small sports apparel business, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. announced the acquisition yesterday of a New York clothing company that will immediately double its sales.
The Boston athletic shoe maker bought Vital Apparel Group, of Huntington Station, N.Y., for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition is the first by New Balance since Rob DeMartini became chief executive in April and was charged with making the $1.55 billion company a $3 billion one by 2012.

New Balance is focusing on apparel - targeting runners, competitive high school and college athletes, and fitness enthusiasts.
Until now, its clothing sales accounted for “well south” of 10 percent of its overall sales, DeMartini said.

Apparel sales for companies such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok, meantime, typically account for at least one-third of their overall sales.
“It probably puts us fourth today,” DeMartini said. “Reebok is a little difficult to estimate because such a big part of their business is the NFL license. We may be as big as them in the non-license area.”

Vital Apparel Group comprises Vital Apparel, a women’s active brand; Vital Accessories, which has the license for Soffe accessories; and the Vital Performance division, which includes InSport, a running apparel and military-issue brand.

Vital also produces Aspire, a Sports Authority private-label brand.
“They’ll continue to do what they’re doing and use their experience and familiarity with a couple of key channels, particularly sporting goods, to help lead development of the New Balance brand,” DeMartini said.

In June, Vital signed a licensing agreement to develop branded apparel for the New Balance-owned Warrior brand.

Vital’s operations will continue to be based in New York. Its approximately 100 employees will be retained.

Vital president Kerry Kligerman will become executive vice president of New Balance’s apparel division, which will remain headquartered in Lawrence.

By Donna Goodison

Monday, December 10, 2007


There’s something a bit nutty going on with the latest running apparel from New Balance – coconutty that is.

New Balance is the first to bring a fabric process that uses carbon from coconut shells to running gear. Called CoCoNa, the natural technology infuses polyester fabric with activated carbon to enhance evaporative cooling, odor resistance and UV protection.
If it weren’t for a tag on the jacket letting the buyer know about CoCoNa technology, you’d never know the jackets and tops had anything extra. They feel soft and lightweight.
New Balance uses the fabric for two styles that are available for both men and women in several color choices.. The CoCoNa Run Jacket ($70) has two secure side seem pockets and is a great shell to go over base layers.

The CoCoNa Run Zip Top ($65) has the added warmth of Thermal Lite fabric. There are no seems on the jacket – thus eliminating sources of chaffing – and a good fit is helped by a smooth-finish collar and wrist binding.

For men, there’s also the CoCoNa Reversable ($70) that has no natural side seems and is, surprise, reversible.

Of course, the holiday season for a runner would not be complete without New Balance running shoes.

For trail runners, the New Balance 790 ($75) is ultra lightweight and durable. In addition to an outsole that’s perfect for traction on the trails, the 790 features a Rock Stop plate that protects the foot again rocks and other trail hazards.

For traditional running, the New Balance 740 ($80) is comfortable and lightweight. A synthetic and mesh upper keeps the shoe light and breezy while an N-Durance rubber outsole gives runners many miles befor they need to replace the sneakers.
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Friday, December 7, 2007

Watch out for Counterfeit Shoes

Posted on the Consumer Reports Website, showing side by side real vs counterfeit items a pair of New Balance Shoes.

"This is one of the best counterfeits I've ever seen," said Ed Haddad, a vice president at New Balance. The real shoe has more marks identifying it as New Balance, including embedded data decipherable only with a special reader. Its insole is vented and the shoe's bottom is more intricate. The "N" on the fake looks sewn on as an afterthought.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Abate To Receive Early Christmas Present From New Balance

If you already think New Balance is a great company because of the running shoes they make, here's another reason to love the Massachusetts-based firm. This week, New Balance said it was going to give Frank Abate of Westerly all the free shoes and running gear he needs as he works toward his goal of running in the 2009 Boston Marathon.

As you might recall from two October stories in The Day, the 32-year-old Abate has cerebral palsy but runs road races as well as teaches and coaches in the Westerly school system. He wears gloves when he runs because he often falls and he dedicates his races to two of the most influential people in his life, his late father and grandfather.

Because of the way Abate runs — alternately swinging his legs forward and landing with his feet splayed out — he wears out his pairs of New Balance shoes a lot faster than the rest of us. Affording them is not always easy.

Amy Vreeland, New Balance's corporate communications manager, said Friday that after reading the stories, she was not inspired by Abate's determination but by how he inspires others and how the community supports him.

In an e-mail to me last week, Vreeland said New Balance was “honored” to help Abate. When I told her I wanted to give New Balance some credit for helping him out, she downplayed her company's role.

“This is an easy thing for us to do. The tough part is what he does,” she said. “He's the hero of the story here and all the people who support him. We're just a small part of it.'
New Balance sponsors a team of elite runners in the Chicago Marathon. More importantly, it has been an 18-year partner with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure program to eradicate breast cancer. It's the national sponsor for the Komen road race series and donates up to $1 million to the organization from sales of Lace Up For the Cure apparel and shoes.
It also supports a program called Girls on the Run that encourages pre-teen girls to develop healthy lifestyles through running. This includes paying for operation and management costs, sponsoring the national Girls on the Run 5K race series, and providing running shoes to 500 needy girls every year.

“Here and there we help out where we can, Vreeland said. “Obviously (Abate's) story touched us.”

She said New Balance understands what it takes to be a runner even without having to overcome the obstacles Abate does.

“And he shouldn't have to worry about his shoes,” she said.
Vreeland said people like Abate inspire others to try something that they don't think they can do.

“We're looking forward to reading about him setting new PRs,” she said.
Speaking of PRs, Abate recorded his 5K best a few weeks ago at the Westerly Elks race by running 54:24.

He'll probably set another PR running out to the street to meet the UPS guy when he shows up with that first big box of New Balance stuff.
Merry Christmas, Frank.

Full Story Here
Story by Joe Wajtas - Published 12/2/2007