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GNC acquires online vitamin discounter

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Specialty retailer GNC on Tuesday announced it has agreed to acquire LuckyVitamin.com, an online discount retailer of branded nutritional supplements.

The acquisition is being funded with cash on hand, and is expected to close within 30 days, subject to customary closing conditions, GNC stated.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Following the acquisition, GNC.com — GNC’s existing e-commerce platform — and LuckyVitamin.com will continue to operate as separate businesses, each with its own product offerings and target customers.

"LuckyVitamin.com is a true Internet pioneer in the health and wellness industry and has built a strong online brand and business as a discount retailer," GNC president and CEO Joe Fortunato said. "LuckyVitamin.com creates a perfect opportunity for GNC to leverage our existing capabilities, provides synergies to strengthen the competitive position of LuckyVitamin.com and gain market share in the fast-growing discount e-commerce channel," he said.

"This acquisition will allow us to participate in the online nutritional discount market without compromising our GNC Live Well brand or the market positioning of our successful GNC.com business," added Jeffrey Hennion, GNC’s EVP and chief marketing officer and e-commerce. "The combination of GNC.com’s premium branding, content and product assortment with LuckyVitamin.com’s competitive offering, best-in-class functionality and customer service advances GNC’s position in the e-commerce channel and leverages the strengths of both companies."

LuckyVitamin.com, founded in 2004, is based in Norristown, Pa. It generated approximately $40 million in revenue for the last twelve months. GNC expects the acquisition to be accretive, beginning in 2012. The earnings impact in 2011 is expected to be neutral, as positive EBITDA contribution is offset by transaction-related expenses.

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Bad boy Dennis Rodman promos hangover relief shot

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — Former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman, who most recently appeared on VH1’s "Celebrity Rehab," earlier this month helped launch Applied Food Sciences’ hangover relief remedy G-Tox the Hangover Blocker through appearances on the talk show circuit.

Rodman recently appeared in a segment on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and talked about the G-Tox shot with both host Jay Leno and comedian Dennis Miller.

"Recovery drinks have become an ultra fast growing category in beverage sales, with major brands like Monster Rehab and Vitaminwater Revive recently entering the market targeted at ‘curing hangovers,’" the company stated. "This is the hottest beverage category right now, and as the national media begins to take notice, [we are] out to prove real science behind the product goes a long way."

G-Tox was developed by Applied Food Sciences, which found that glucarate, the key ingredient in G-Tox, was effective in readily speeding up the process of toxin removal within the liver and blood.

Glucarate, found naturally in fruits and vegetables, is also naturally found in the human body. When the body becomes overloaded with toxins, increasing levels of glucarate or glucuronolactone, also increases the body’s ability to recover from toxins such as alcohol faster, safer and more efficiently.

“G-Tox helps keep the body in top form, and for anyone who drinks, especially those peak athletes, it’s a simple, one-shot remedy that’s easy and effective total body detox,” AFS VP marketing Jackson Zapp said.

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Winn-Dixie to implement self-checkout technology

BY DSN STAFF

ARMONK, N.Y. — Winn-Dixie has selected IBM point-of-sale and self-checkout technology to help transform customer service, speed innovation and increase the operational efficiency of 484 Winn-Dixie store locations and other store formats across the southeastern United States, IBM reported.

According to an IBM press release, Winn-Dixie, working in collaboration with IBM and SAM Group, will implement a network of 6,000 IBM SurePOS 700 systems armed with IBM’s SurePOS ACE and Retail Integration Framework software, which are components of IBM’s Smarter Checkout solution. Winn-Dixie also will install IBM SurePoint infrared touch displays and SureMark thermal impact printers as part of its plan to create one the industry’s most comprehensive, flexible and robust retail shopping environments.

"This initiative will allow us to introduce services quickly and seamlessly to improve our guests’ shopping experience and will help to support our overall strategy," said Maura Hart, Winn-Dixie group VP and CIO. "We believe the functionality, reliability and open standards offered by IBM hardware and software will accelerate our innovation, which will enhance our competitiveness, as well as our ability to deliver quality service in our stores."

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