HEALTH

General Nutrition Centers reports revenues up 4.8 percent for quarter

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH General Nutrition Centers last week reported revenues of $414.2 million for the period ending Sept. 30, a 4.8 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

One of the positives helping to drive that growth for the specialty retailer is GNC’s partnership with Rite Aid—Rite Aid added 126 GNC store-within-a-store centers over the quarter—which contributed to an overall 19.4 percent lift across GNC’s manufacturing wholesale segment. “Revenue in this segment is generated primarily by third-party sales at our South Carolina manufacturing facility and wholesale and consignment sales at Rite Aid and drugstore.com,” said GNC executive vice president and chief financial officer Michael Nuzzo during a conference call with analysts last week. “The growth in this segment was the result of increased third-party sales and additional license fee revenue for Rite Aid store-within-a-store openings … Rite Aid now operates 1,682 GNC store-within-a-store locations across the U.S., versus 1,293 stores last year,” he said.

“As you can see from store openings, which have accelerated, [Rite Aid is] still very pleased with the strategy of GNC store-in-store concepts, and they clearly still show significant improvements in their results when they have a GNC store inside a Rite Aid store versus where they do not,” Nuzzo added.

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Trial shows aspirin doesn’t help protect Type 2 diabetes patients from heart disease

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO A trial published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that low-dose aspirin as a primary prevention tool against heart disease was ineffective in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The study followed 2,539 Japanese patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes from December 2002 through April 2008 who had no prior incidence of heart disease. A total of 68 heart-disease events occurred in the group taking low-dose aspirin, vs. 86 events among those not taking any aspirin therapy.

Accordingly, the authors of the study concluded that in patients with Type 2 diabetes, low-dose aspirin as a primary prevention did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a consumer education post on its web site, states that low-dose aspirin has been shown to be helpful when used daily to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems, so long as consumers consult a healthcare professional to talk about the use of low-dose aspirin on a daily basis.

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Consumer group finds several Ginkgo biloba products don’t meet standards

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Recent tests performed by ConsumerLab.com of Ginkgo biloba supplements found that few products meet quality standards. Among the products selected for review, two appeared to contain adulterated material and two others contained less ginkgo than claimed on their labels.

A fifth product failed to identify the part of the ginkgo plant used, a Food and Drug Administration labeling requirement.

Only three ginkgo supplements passed ConsumerLab.com’s tests, the company reported Tuesday.

The results were reported today in ConsumerLab.com’s Product Review of Supplements for Memory & Cognition Enhancement which focuses on three ingredients that have shown some promise in improving memory – Ginkgo biloba, huperzine A and acetyl-L-carnitine. Among the huperzine products selected, two passed testing while a third provided only 14 percent of its claimed amount of the ingredient. All five acetyl-L-carnitine supplements passed testing.

“Ginkgo extract is a moderately expensive ingredient. Some companies put less of it in their products than they claim or use ingredient that has been adulterated with inexpensive material that can fool non-specific tests,” charged William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com’s vice president for research. “Highly specific test methods, such as HPLC, reveal these shortcomings, allowing us to direct consumers toward products of better quality.”

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