Vitamin Shoppe boss Tony Truesdale would not say how much the FDA crackdown on DMAA is likely to cost the business after being repeatedly pressed by analysts on the issue during the firm’s first quarter earnings call.
Asked how significant a part of the business pre-workout supplements containing DMAA represented, he said: “We went through the Hydroxycut recall in 2009, the peanut butter recall in 2008, we’ve seen the [negative] articles on vitamin E…
“One of the things I take pride in is that we have diversified our mix, we have 8,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) so we don’t see any one SKU having a significant impact on the company, so we believe we’ll get through this”.
Asked by a second analyst if he could “quantify your DMAA exposure”, he added: “We’ve never given out specific category or item penetration.”
Asked by a third caller if customers were actively looking for DMAA on labels, he said: “People come on and off these products and they will try different products over a period of time. Some brands will be popular today, others will be popular tomorrow. That’s the nature of the sports nutrition category.”
Q1 results breakdown
Meanwhile, Vitamin Shoppe’s results had exceeded expectations during the first quarter, driven by higher traffic and strong sales in weight management, sports nutrition, meal replacements, on the go drinks and natural proteins, added Truesdale.
Net sales rose 14.4% to $248.1m in the three months to March 31 driven by a 9.6% rise in like-for-like sales in its store estate, 15 new stores and a 15.5% rise in e-commerce sales.
Net income surged 58% to $18.3m.
New distribution center to be up and running in first half of 2013
As of March 31, 2012, Vitamin Shoppe operated 543 stores and aims to open a further 37 new stores this year (making a total of 52 new stores in 2012), said chief operating officer Michael Archbold, who is leaving the company at the end of June.
“We’ve already identified all of the stores we aim to open in 2012 and some for 2013", he said. "We also expect our new distribution center will be up and running in the first half of 2013.”
A prototype store – around 20% smaller than standard Vitamin Shoppe stores – would also be tested this year in two locations, he said.
Based in North Bergen, New Jersey, Vitamin Shoppe sells vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, herbs, sports nutrition formulas, homeopathic remedies, and health and beauty aids.
The company carries national brand products as well as exclusive products under the Vitamin Shoppe and BodyTech proprietary brands.