Speaking to analysts yesterday after posting another quarter of double-digit top and bottom line growth in the three months to September 30, chief executive Michael Johnson said: “Our products are more relevant than at any time in our history, as is the way we go to market: person to person, direct sales.
“We are the original social network.”
iChange: Nutrition for the Facebook generation
President Des Walsh added: “Our daily consumption model drives increased distributor and consumer engagement. They have much more frequent contact than is normal for direct sellers.”
But Herbalife’s new iChange social network-style website to help customers connect online with a wellness coach and support group was also “beginning to gain traction”, he added.
The site, introduced to select distributors on a trial basis at the beginning of this year is now set for a wider rollout across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region this quarter.
President Des Walsh added: “Distributors using the beta version of the product are seeing meaningful improvements in their business. We’re very excited with what we’re seeing with iChange although it’s still in the very early stages.
“We’re working closely with a pilot group of distributors in terms of continuing to modify it and add additional functionality and we believe this is an important part of our social network strategy and an exciting tool for our distributors.”
Herbalife 24 sports nutrition range
Bosses were also “very excited” about the prospects for the new Herbalife 24 sports nutrition range both as a means of appealing to a new customer base (beyond its core weight management audience) but also as a means of attracting “a new category or demographic of distributor”, said Johnson.
“It’s opened up new doors without a doubt. We’re seeing a younger distributor that can talk to people that may not be interested in weight loss or management.”
Walsh added: “There are tens of thousands of personal trainers in the US. Now with Herbalife24 there is a tremendous business opportunity [for them to sell] a product line that is directly related to what they do every day.”
Q3 results: ‘The third quarter was tremendous’
Group net sales increased 30% to $895.2m on volume growth of 23.4% in the third quarter. Net income rose 43% to $108m.
While growth in emerging markets was strongest, Herbalife also notched up double-digit net sales growth (16%) in North America, where it increased distributor numbers by 5%, said Walsh.
“The third quarter was tremendous. It was our founder Mark Hughes’ aspirational goal that Herbalife would one day reach $5bn in retail sales, and at the pace we are going, that milestone may be just around the corner.
“Every region posted increases in every metric that we measure and share with investors.”