Naturade sales down in first quarter

Related tags Nutrition

Sales of weight loss products made by California firm Naturade
during the first quarter were hit by a labor strike at stores in
the mass market channel, reported the company this week. Margins
also declined as it increased its range of private label over
branded products.

Naturade saw net sales for the quarter slip 8 per cent to $3,552,624 while losses widened from $192,658 to $468,467.

"The first quarter sales setback was disappointing,"​ said Naturade CEO Bill Stewart. "Our mass market channel sales were affected by the impact of a labor strike in food stores where the company's sales decreased 13.4 per cent in first quarter 2004 over the same period in 2003."

The company had also increased volume in a mass market account in the first quarter of 2003 that did not recur in 2004 because the customer consolidated its entire meal replacement category to make room for low carb products, said Stewart.

However Naturade is hoping to boost sales and profit through new products. In March, it extended its new Diet Lean brand from one carbohydrate blocker to a line of six weight loss products claimed to offer safe alternatives to ephedra.

The company has also launched a line of sports nutrition powders with SportPharma targeting the consumers in both mass market and health food stores.

"The volume from our SportPharma and Diet Lean lines could have a meaningful impact on second half sales results. Diet Lean is supported by partnerships with major ingredient brands such as Tonalin and Phase 2 to attack the weight-loss market. Both ingredient suppliers are actively supporting their brands through national consumer campaigns,"​ said Stewart.

The SportPharma line opens up a new business category and customer base for the company, which traditionally specialised in soy protein-based meal replacement products.

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