The Panamanian franchisee, Reprico, opened the first store on March 4, but has been active in health and wellness retailing in Panama for many years.
"Our grandparents were pioneers in pharmacy in Panama," said Marta Ferrer , director retail stores for Reprico. "We are excited to open a store that can help people feel better and live healthier with the best quality products."
According to the company, Vitamin Shoppe stores feature over 800 products from more than 70 brands, including Vitamin Shoppe's own private label brands.
Strong growth curve
Vitamin Shoppe has been on a strong growth curve; the expansion in Panama follows the company’s entry in Canada opening two stores in the Toronto area under the Vitapath banner. It opened 52 new stores in 2012 and now operates in 42 states. In addition, the company opened two prototype stores in two locations that are 20% smaller than a typical store.
And the company has posted strong earnings results; in 2012 it notched revenues of $951, up from the $854 million the company reported in fiscal 2011. For 2013, the company’s revenues are forecast in the $1.1 billion range.
In addition, the company announced a deal in late 2012 to acquire Seattle-based Super Supplements, a chain of 31 stores in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The deal has created a dominant player in the supplements retailing space in the Pacific Northwest with 31 Super Supplement stores alongside 17 Vitamin Shoppe outlets. The Vitamin Shoppe offered $50 million for Super Supplements.
The deal was briefly held up by a FTC investigation. Vitamin Shoppe announced in early February a postive resolution of that probe, and closed the deal in mid February.
"We're excited to partner with Reprico and bring the Vitamin Shoppe to Panama," said Musab Balbale , director of new business for Vitamin Shoppe. "Our focus on delighting the customer with knowledge and great service will make us a trusted source for our customers in Panama."
True Athlete line
One of Vitamin Shoppe’s recent significant wins has been the launch of its private label True Athlete NSF certified for Sport sports nutrition range that has significantly exceeded expectations.
The range, which is targeted at everyone from elite athletes to fitness enthusiasts “with a passion for natural products”, will be followed by other new concepts, CEO Tony Truesdale said at a recent investors conference.
“We’re on a journey of evolving corporate brands at Vitamin Shoppe. It takes a long time to do what we did with True Athlete. It’s a unique formulation that you can’t buy anywhere else. We’re not duplicating a third party.”