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Vitamin Shoppe expands into Canada under Vitapath banner

By Hank Schultz , 15-Jan-2013
Last updated on 15-Jan-2013 at 18:25 GMT

The Vitamin Shoppe has announced its entry into the Canadian market, with the opening of two stores in the Toronto area.  Under the Vitapath banner, the company said it plans to open stores across Canada.

The stores, in Newmarket and Leaside, will join more than 570 retail locations in the US.  The Canadian stores will feature more than 6,300 products from more than 300 brands.  A key part of the strategy is a strong private label presence; the Vitapath label alone will account for more than 200 products.

Staff training

Another part of the Vitapath strategy will feature an educated staff; called Health Enthusiasts, staff members will include certified health practitioners and nutritionists.  Staff members will participate in regular training, the company said.

"Our focus on engaging in one-on-one dialogue and providing expert knowledge and personal service through our Health Enthusiasts and in-store nutritionists will make us a trusted source for our customers," said Tony Truesdale, Vitamin Shoppe CEO.

Like its offspring brand Vitapath, The Vitamin Shoppe has a strong private label brand strategy.  It offers products under The Vitamin Shoppe,  True Athlete and BodyTech proprietary brands.

Rapid expansion

The Vitamin Shoppe has been expanding rapidly in recent years. It opened 52 new stores in 2012 and now operates in 42 states.  In addition, the company opened two prototype stores in two locations that are 20% smaller than a typical store.

 And the company has posted strong earnings results;  it posted $239 million in revenues in the third quarter of fiscal 2012.  Analysts predicted that its fiscal 2012 revenues, scheduled to be reported in early February, would come in at about $956 million, up from the $854 million the company reported in fiscal 2011.

FTC probe interrupts deal

It has not all been smooth sailing for the retailing giant, however;  the company announced a deal in late 2012 to acquire Seattle-based Super Supplements, a chain of 31 stores in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The deal would have created a dominant player in the supplements retailing space in the Pacific Northwest with 31 Super Supplement stores alongside 17 Vitamin Shoppe outlets. The Vitamin Shoppe had offered $50 million for Super Supplements.

But on Dec. 31, 2012 The Vitamin Shoppe announced that FTC was investigating the deal.  In light of the investigation, the deal’s consummation, set at first for Dec. 31, 2012, was put off until March 1, with no guarantee that it will ever go through.  A report in the Puget Sound Business Journal said that FTC may be concerned about the effect on supplement consumers in some of the remote markets in the region served by the two retailers. 

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