In a call with analysts, Anthony Truesdale, CEO and Director of Vitamin Shoppe, said: “I think we were pleasantly pleased with Mytrition, and we only developed 6 SKUs. We wanted to see how it's going. We've got -- and we saw the initial results, we've had some struggles on keeping it in stock quite honestly, so we're ramping up 4 more SKUs and we're working hard at product development.”
Despite overall growth in sales of 12.5% in the quarter, the company reported that it has experienced variability in sales performance year-to-date, with April sales “a bit slower than anticipated.
“As a result, we are taking a more cautious view on the year,” said Truesdale. “Our comparable store sales growth performance is expected to be in the low-to-mid-single digits for the full year.”
A particular area of impressive growth was in the e-commerce sector, with Vitamin Shoppe reporting that revenues increased 16.1%, making it the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
Louis Weiss, chief marketing officer, said the growth rate of this category online is about 13%.
“We intend to grow, as we've said before, at or above that growth rate, which we continue to do in the first quarter,” said Weiss.
“Clearly, mobile is very important to the future of the interactive experience for retailers, as well as the e-commerce, specifically. And we have been making and we'll continue to make investments in that area.”
In addition to the success of the Mytrition range, Truesdale noted that the company launched Raspberry Ketones and the Coffee Bean Extract in the quarter.
“The $9.99 multis are in the store. If you go to into a store today, you'll see a great display of third-party and Vitamin Shoppe brands, $9.99 multis. So I think the things that we said we're going to do a year ago on multivitamins have kind of come together, and we're happy with that.
“We expect more product development in the back half of the year.”
New stores, new horizons
Truesdale noted that the company opened 13 new stores in the US in the first quarter (giving a total of 621 as of March 30, 2013), acquired 31 stores in the Pacific Northwest (Super Supplements), and the first franchise store was opened in Panama.
“We are making strategic investments in 2013 to position the Vitamin Shoppe for continued growth,” he said.
Net sales in fiscal first quarter 2013 increased 12.5% to $279.1 million compared to $248.1 million in the same period of the prior year. Gross profit increased $13.3 million, or 15.1%, to $101.6 million for the fiscal 2013 first quarter, compared with $88.3 million for fiscal first quarter 2012. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 36.4% for the quarter ended March 30, 2013, up from 35.6% in fiscal first quarter 2012