First quarter sales at US-based nutritional supplements manufacturer NBTY rose by 29% to $215 million compared to $167 million in the same period a year earlier.
The company said the first quarter figures had been boosted by higher sales in all its operating divisions but in particular the wholesale unit, Nature's Bounty.
Sales at Nature's Bounty were $66 million compared with $40 million the previous year, an increase of 66%. Of the $26 million increase, approximately $15 million was attributable to newly acquired businesses, while the rest of the increase came from organic growth and new product launches, in particular Flex-A-Min.
Among the newly acquired businesses are the Knox NutraJoint and Knoxfor Nails nutritional supplement units of Kraft Foods, which helped broaden the NBTY product base and gave it access to new wholesale accounts.
Global Health Sciences acquired in the 2000 fiscal year, helped the company lift its manufacturing capacity. NBTY now has five separate manufacturing plants throughout the US.
NBTY said that industry sales had stagnated but that it had survived where rival companies had not by focusing on the mass market and consumer drug retailers.
"By using consumer sales information received from our Vitamin World and direct response/e-commerce operations, we been able to provide our mass-market customers with tools to drive sales," the company said.
Vitamin World currently operates 533 stores throughout the US and the unit lifted sales by 14.1% during the first quarter. NBTY stressed that the Vitamin World unit was still not profitable, but that losses had been reduced by 70% over the quarter.
The UK-based Holland & Barrett business increased sales by 19.8% during the three-month period, with same store sales ahead 11.5%.
NBTY chairman and chief executive officer Scott Rudolph said: "We are gratified that our focus and commitment to the wholesale business has contributed substantially to the overall rise in first quarter revenues. We continue to look for additional ways to increase our market share in this sector and to better serve our customers. We remain optimistic for the long-term outlook for the company."