LAKE FOREST, IL -- Brunswick Corp.’s fitness segment, comprised of the Life Fitness division that manufactures and sells Life Fitness and Hammer Strength fitness equipment, had a 21 percent decrease in sales in first quarter 2009.

In financial results released today, Brunswick’s fitness segment sales totaled $118.6 million in first quarter 2009, down from $149.2 million in first quarter 2008. International sales, which represent 45 percent of the total segment sales in the quarter, declined by 16 percent on a year-to-year basis. The fitness segment reported operating earnings of $0.3 million, including $1.0 million of restructuring charges, in first quarter 2009 compared to earnings of $8.1 million in first quarter 2008.

Commercial equipment sales, which account for the largest percentage of Brunswick’s fitness segment sales, declined in the quarter as gym and fitness club operators remained cautious about ordering equipment, the company stated in a press release. Sales of consumer exercise equipment experienced a sharper decline year-over-year, reflecting the effects of the weak economy, the company added.

Brunswick’s total sales of $734.7 million for the company were down 45 percent compared to $1.35 billion in 2008. The company experienced a net loss of $184.2 million. Brunswick plans to increase its cost-cutting efforts as it expects 2009 cost savings of $240 million, up from its previous estimate of $200 million.

“Our businesses continued to be under pressure from a variety of harsh economic factors that affected both domestic and international demand for our products, especially in our recreational marine markets,” Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dustan E. McCoy said in a statement. “We are not planning for any meaningful economic recovery in 2009, and our near-term focus remains clear, which is to maintain strong liquidity without additional borrowings, take all appropriate actions to maintain dealer health and position ourselves to exit this global downturn as a stronger company. As each day passes ... we become increasingly confident that we are well positioned to benefit from an economic recovery.”