Byline: Anne D'Innocenzio

NEW YORK--Authentic Fitness Corp. said Wednesday it has signed an exclusive agreement with Bally's Health and Tennis Corp. to open shops under the Speedo Authentic Fitness name within Bally's health clubs in the U.S. and Canada.
Bally's, based in Chicago, operates 350 clubs under the names Vertical Club, Jack LaLanne, Bally's and Sports Connection.
"This is a big deal and a big idea," said Linda Wachner, chairman and chief executive officer of Authentic Fitness. "We are right in the heart of exercise country. The customers of Bally's are committed exercise people who work out three times a week."
The first shop will open in December in a New York Vertical Club at 61st Street and Second Avenue, she said. The company plans to open about 150 shops, which range in size from 200 to 300 square feet, within the next five years, she said. Wachner would not comment on sales projections or future sites, adding, "We are still in the throes of selecting locations."
She added that Speedo had done a number of cross promotions with Bally's customers and said she thought the concept was a natural. She added that by the end of next year, all Bally instructors will be outfitted in Speedo activewear.
Authentic Fitness designs and markets swimwear and swim accessories under the Speedo, Speedo Authentic Fitness, Oscar de la Renta, Catalina, Cole of California and Anne Cole brand names; skiwear, activewear, swimwear and accessories under the White Stag brand name, and skiwear under the Edelweiss, Mountain Goat and Skiing Passport brand names.
In addition to its wholesale activities, it currently operates 30 Speedo Authentic Fitness stores and plans to open 20 more by yearend.

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