Ho, ho, ho, active people spend more dough during the holidays according to the Leisure Trends Group. In a recent survey of its Most Active Americans Panel (MAAP), as well as the general population, the group found that fit folks have a more optimistic outlook on holiday spending, with 74 percent saying they plan to increase or equal the amount they spent on presents last season.

That’s compared to 65 percent of “the General Population,” Leisure Trends reports, who said they plan to increase or maintain their amount of holiday spending. In particular, active Americans plan to spend an average of $658 on sports and recreation this holiday, a 13 percent increase over the amount they spent in 2011.

Fiscal Cliff Fix Puts Outdoor Industry On Edge

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) voiced concern today over lawmaker proposals to sell public lands as one solution to the impending fiscal cliff.

Last week, Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Stevan Pearce (R-NM) sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), suggesting that by “divesting the federal government of its vast land holdings,” Congress could “pay down the deficit and reduce spending.”

OIA dismissed the letter’s assertion that public lands throughout the country, and especially in the West, are lands that “we do not even need,” by pointing to the 6 million sustainable American jobs they support. “Public lands should not be a bargaining chip in deficit negotiations,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “In a time of fiscal crisis, we cannot downplay the importance of the $646 billion in consumer spending, 6.1 million jobs and more than $80 billion in federal, state and local revenues that outdoor recreation generates. Public lands are a critical part of this equation.”

In a statement of opposition to Bishop and Pearce’s proposal, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) said that “selling off our parks, forests, wilderness and other public lands — in Colorado and throughout the West — would not only be shortsighted, but it also would undermine a critical component of our thriving outdoor economy. Our public lands are, in many ways, our most renewable and reliable economic driver.” Read more here.

Private Equity Firm Buys Eastern Mountain Sports

Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management, LLC announced on Monday that the private equity firm has acquired Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), a 69-store outdoor retailer in 12 eastern states, as well as its online operations. Purchase terms were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to welcome EMS into our organization and to further expand Versa’s retail interests,” Gregory L. Segall, CEO of Versa Capital said in a release. “EMS brings a 45-year history of marketing products for serious outdoor enthusiasts; as such, it is a natural fit for our existing expertise in both the retail and outdoor sectors. With a new capital structure and the other resources that Versa can offer, EMS will have many new opportunities to develop its branded products and better serve its customers.”

Versa’s portfolio ranges from Bob’s Stores to Black Angus Steakhouses and active apparel manufacturing giant Polartec. Read more here.

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