PITTSBURGH — GNC is ramping up its reach beyond its 6,100 retail outlets, Joe Fortunato, the company's chairman, president and CEO, told analysts last week. The company's relationship with Sam's Club, which incorporated a branded shelf in July, is expanding; new products are being introduced to PetSmart, suggesting potential growth in pet supplements; and GNC's Marked line, co-developed with action movie star Mark Wahlberg, has been launched through Rite Aid and Walgreens.
And GNC plans to fold that Marked portfolio of products into all of mass retail, Fortunato said. "Our goal is to take that product line as broadly as we can," he said. "There is no limitation on where we want to take that product line — we’ve seen excitement from the drug channels so far [but] we’re also willing to go into the club business separately," he said. And it doesn't stop with drug or club, Fortunato also noted that GNC was presently in discussions with a pair of mass retailers on picking up the Marked line, plans to round out distribution through drug and also fold the Marked line into grocery. "We’re trying to get as broad expansion on that line as possible."
And GNC is boosting awareness around its brand overall. GNC last month announced the launch of its new brand campaign, "Respect Yourself," and on Tuesday incorporated New York's Martha Graham Dance Company into its marketing mix.
To help drive that awareness campaign through new media outlets, GNC is presently in search of a new head of e-commerce, Fortunato said. "For the time being we have promoted somebody internally to the head of marketing [Jennifer Brinker was named SVP marketing]. And I’m going to stay deeply involved in marketing, as you know I was very involved in the Live Well campaign in 2010," he told analysts.
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