SIDELINES

NIKE’S NEW PLAN: Nike has extended its benefits program to include the children of employees’ permanent partners.
The company defines a permanent partner as anyone with whom an employee lives, regardless of gender, and with whom the employee shares lives as one would a spouse. The employee signs an affidavit to that effect. Unmarried natural children, stepchildren and children who are dependents by adoption or guardianship are now eligible for health and life insurance, child care, scholarships and other benefits.
Nike has provided benefits for permanent partners of Nike employees since 1994. There are about 420 permanent partners enrolled in that program, a Nike spokeswoman said.

STRETCHING OUT: Next month The Athlete’s Foot plans to open a store for women in Nashville.
Called “The Athlete’s Foot For Her,” the 2,000-square-foot unit is a new prototype that has more seating and better merchandising that showcases apparel with footwear and accessories for specific activities or sports, according to Robert Corliss, president and chief executive officer of The Athlete’s Foot. There are also two other women’s stores in Katy, Tex., and Charlotte, N.C.
The retailer has invested a “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in fine-tuning the concept for the Nashville store not including its inventory, he said.
Unlike most athletic specialty stores, the new one will not have a shoe wall to give it more of a lifestyle look, he said. The retailer will continue to modify its women’s stores as needed, Corliss said.
“We haven’t figured it all out yet. We don’t have the benefit of copying anybody else,” he said. “We’re focused right now on getting the concept right — not on how many stores we’ll open.”

SGMA SEMINARS: The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association plans to kick off its Advanced Management Seminars for industry executives in June. The program is designed to help industry executives deal with such issues as product saturation, lack of product innovation, reduced margins, retail consolidation and new competitors.
One-day sessions will be held in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco to save attendees time and travel expenses.
Two programs will be offered: “Market Intelligence From A to Z,” which focuses on the changing market, and “Running Your Business While Keeping the Law Off Your Back,” a guide for management in the 21st century. There will be eight seminars from June through Dec. 7.

SAILING LIKE A NEW MAN: New Man, a French manufacturer of sportswear geared for international travelers, will sponsor its first transatlantic race for individual competitors. The Europe 1 New Man Star 2000, a yacht race from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I., gets under way June 4. Organized by the Royal Western Yacht Club of England, the race is in its 40th year.
The company plans to sponsor similar events that reflect the brand’s travelwear identity, according to Robert Taylor, president of New Man U.S.A.

PACIFIC SUN’S XPERIENCE: Pacific Sunwear of California will sponsor the X Games for summer 2000, winter 2001 and summer 2001. Produced by ESPN2, the X Games focus on alternative sports, such as street luge, skateboarding and snowboarding.
Pacific Sunwear caters to teens interested in such activities. The 495-unit retailer first sponsored this year’s Winter X Games at Mt. Snow in Vermont.

SNOW JOB: Nike plans to host ACG Indoor, the first indoor snowboarding and music festival at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on August 25.
The event will feature pro snowboarders competing on the quarter pipe, as well as bands, fireworks, a laser show and action sport demonstrations. USA Network will air the competition on Oct. 7.
Sega Dreamcast, the event’s presenting sponsor, will set up interactive displays to show off its latest games.
The Chicago site was selected to provide the city’s teens first-hand experience with topnotch winter sport competitions, organizers said.