Slim And Tone Express Fitness And Weight Loss Studios To Enter Japan

YARDLEY, PA USA | Thursday, January 05, 2006

Slim and Tone, LLC, a women’s fitness franchise operation and subsidiary of NutriSystem, Inc. of Horsham, PA, has announced a master franchise agreement in Japan for its Slim and Tone Express Fitness & Weight Loss Studios. VIA Holdings, Inc. of Tokyo will oversee the franchise expansion, led by top executive Norio Yokokawa. The agreement was signed on December 15, 2005, with an expected start-up in Japan in early 2006. “We are extremely excited to be working with VIA Holdings to develop the fitness market in Japan,” said Betsy Ludlow, founder and now head of global expansion for Slim and Tone. “VIA is a large and well-respected publicly-traded company with an exciting vision for developing the health and wellness market in Japan, starting with the Slim and Tone venture. The potential for leveraging ideas across our global network is significant.” Ludlow met with Yokokawa to sign the deal in Tokyo.

Known for its innovative take on the women’s 30-minute express workout concept, Slim and Tone offers club members an enhanced fitness program called “Core 4” to build strength, endurance and flexibility. A circuit of hydraulic resistance machines is complemented by a focused exercise series. Most Slim and Tone club trainers are certified, and many sites offer specialized classes and other extras, including exclusive access to the NutriSystem Nourish weight loss product line. Slim and Tone allows its franchisees to adapt their programs to the needs of local members, a benefit that translates well into an international market, where trends may be different from those in the U.S.

VIA Holdings, Inc. has five company subsidiaries in Japan, including Ohgiya Corporations, Inc., a restaurant chain with 271 locations; Food Dream, Inc., with 87 food stores; Bochi Bochi Corporation, with 21 pizza shops; Akatsuki Printing, Inc.; and Nihon System, Inc., a gaming software developer. “The agreement with Slim and Tone Express Fitness & Weight Loss Studios marks VIA Holdings’ entry into the health and wellness business,” said Yokokawa. He expects the first Slim and Tone studio will open in Tokyo by April 2006, with a projected total of 100 studios nationwide by the year 2010. Slim and Tone was founded in 2002 by Ludlow, an 18-year marketing veteran of American Express. By 2004, when the franchise operation had reached a total of over 150 clubs worldwide, Slim and Tone was purchased by publicly-traded NutriSystem, Inc. In addition to the American and Canadian clubs, Slim and Tone now has master franchises or presence in Japan, China, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica. In early 2005, Slim and Tone partnered with Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS), an international franchise development firm based in Irvine, Calif., to determine where international franchise efforts should be targeted. “Slim and Tone’s success during 2005 in awarding master franchises to six countries proves this to be a franchise that is well accepted and desired worldwide,” said EGS President William Edwards. "2006 expansion plans include other countries in Asia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico and Australia." EGS was supported in its efforts in Japan for Slim and ToneŽ by I. Fujita International, a Torrance, California based company focused on bringing high quality US companies to Japan.

For additional information on the Slim and ToneŽ master franchise opportunity for other countries, please contact William Edwards at 1.949.3785.1896 or on [email protected]

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Phone: (215)321-6661
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