Organic Planet gets greater

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Canadian firm, Planet Organic, which owns several natural food
supermarkets and a chain of supplement and market stores across
Canada, has taken another step on the road to becoming a large
corporation, with the acquisition of Great Ocean Natural Foods.

Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Great Ocean Natural Foods is a retailer of organic and natural living products, which generated $4 million in annual revenue last year.

This move is part of Planet Organic's aim - as announced by Mark Croft the company's CEO and president last year at the opening of its first store in Calgary - to "build Planet Organic into a corporation with annual sales of C$50 million in five to seven years."

Earlier this month, the firm signed an agreement allowing it to take over Trophic, a manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements.

The purchase of Trophic formed part of Planet Organic's strategy of vertical integration within the natural products industry. The company plans to use its combined resources at the retail and manufacturing levels to better compete against large mainstream stores.

"This is our first vertical integration and will give us a bit more earning power and bring us closer to the consumer,"​ Darren Krissie, vice president of corporate development and chief financial officer for Planet Organic, told NutraIngredientsUSA.

Trophic, located in Penticton, British Colombia, will operate as a separate division headed by its existing management team, after the deal has closed in November this year.

"Vitamins and minerals are an important part of what we do and this acquisition will potentially bring us a strong private label and more access to profit lines,"​ said Krissie.

Prior to this, Planet Organic had acquired Sangster's Health Centres, a 35-store chain with franchised and privately held outlets selling vitamins and supplements across Canada.

As for future growth, Krissie said that for the moment the company would be concentrating on Canada, but at some point they would move over the border and start investigating acquisition possibilities in the US. The company's objective is to consolidate the fragmented natural and organic foods industry in Canada and the US via acquisitions, mergers and new retail operations.

Planet Organic opened its first store in early 2002 in Edmonton, and the company as a whole reported revenues for the nine months ending 31 March 2004 as $8,7 million.

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