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GNC, VSI are supplement success stories

BY Michael Johnsen

In what may be a bellwether for the dietary supplement industry, stock valuations of the two publicly traded retailers who practically sell nothing but dietary supplements are 
up significantly.


As of late May, GNC was trading up 94.5% as compared with its year-ago valuation of $20.33; Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) was up 22.9% from $40.73.


More and more, these specialty retailers are looking to evolve into the quintessential health-and-wellness destination — and it’s working. “I look at our numbers, and I know we have to be taking market share [from food, drug and mass],” GNC president and CEO Joe Fortunato recently told analysts. “It only makes sense with the industry growth 
where it’s at.”


If GNC is taking market share, then Vitamin Shoppe is hoarding it. Approximately one-sixth the size of GNC in terms of store count, sales at Vitamin Shoppe’s brick-and-click operations already are more than half those at GNC. 


This year, Vitamin Shoppe is test marketing smaller-footprint stores in smaller markets to increase the volume of markets in which that vitamin retailer can operate. GNC, meanwhile, is looking to transform its Gold Card discount program — already boasting more than 5 million members — into a loyalty card program.

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Brands focus on lasting legacies

BY Michael Johnsen

This may be the year of the legacy brands as two companies that recently acquired separate brand portfolios from GlaxoSmithKline focus on reinvigorating consumer attention to their respective product lines.


Prestige Brands will be adding 17 former GSK brands to its stable of legacy brands that already includes Luden’s and Dramamine. The company recently identified the five key GSK-acquired brands that Prestige will be focusing on in terms of both marketing support and new product development — BC, Goody’s, Debrox, Gaviscon and Beano.


That will build off of five new recent product introductions from Prestige — Chloraseptic warming sore throat, Clear Eyes Cooling Comfort, Dramamine for Kids, Efferdent Power Clean Crystals and Comet stainless steel.


Meda Consumer Health­care, meanwhile, already has revitalized an iron supplementation category with the rebranding of a multi-SKU Feosol line and plans to similarly invigorate the cough-cold category this year with a Contac relaunch.


As part of its product divestiture plan, GSK has sharpened its focus in OTC across four key categories — wellness, oral health, skin health and nutrition. “The category approach that we now are able to take allows us to focus on [a] better and stronger solution,” GSK chief marketing officer John Graham told DSN, “as we move from … a brand-centric model, to a much more category-growth, category-focused model.”

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Plug pizzazz

BY Michael Johnsen

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. — Cirrus Healthcare Products recently added a little pediatric pizzazz to its line of earplugs for swimming and sound protection with two new character licenses — SpongeBob SquarePants and Hello Kitty.


Sales of ear care products were up 3% to $47.2 million across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended April 15, according to 
SymphonyIRI Group data.


The ultra soft earplugs employ the same technology as the antimicrobial earplug BioEars — soft silicone earplugs that use ACTIValoe.


Cirrus over the next 12 months will be releasing an additional 10 uniquely printed, themed ear care products, the company stated.

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