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Volume 24 No. 156
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          The NSGA's annual World Expo, which runs today through
     Sunday in Chicago, comes just as the "industry's roster of
     players is shrinking," according to Mary Ellen Podmolik of
     the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.  In past years, combined industry
     sales of sporting equipment, apparel and footwear increased
     6-7% annually, however, this year a 3% growth "is
     projected."   Podmolik writes that "[o]ne bright spot" for
     the industry may be women, who account for the "majority of
     participants in five of six" major fitness activities. 
     Podmolik: "The challenge is to refine merchandise and the
     marketing message for women without being patronizing" (Mary
     Ellen Podmolik, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/17).
          THE MASE ON DECLINING SALES? On "CBS Evening News,"
     anchor Dan Rather said, "There is a revolution afoot in the
     multibillion dollar shoe industry.  Athletic shoes are on
     the run, and with them those lucrative superstar endorsement
     deals."  In his report on the shifting trends of the
     athletic shoe industry, CBS's Anthony Mason said, "Looking
     for that hot new shoe, suddenly basketball is out and brown
     is in. ... Even the mighty Nike ... has itself become a
     fashion victim."  Reebok severed ties with Shaquille O'Neal
     and only Michael Jordan "really sells shoes."  Endorsement
     Insider newsletter Editor Jim Andrews: "Nowadays, the cash
     is gone and [now] all those players are getting is some free
     shoes."  Mason: "So new colors, new styles are flooding the
     market -- anything to light a spark" (CBS, 7/16).