GNC unveils aggressive expansion plans for India with Guardian deal

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Guardian has said it plans to make GNC's products available in about 4,000 new retail outlets in India by 2020. ©Wikimedia Commons
Guardian has said it plans to make GNC's products available in about 4,000 new retail outlets in India by 2020. ©Wikimedia Commons
Supplement firm GNC is to rapidly expand its presence in India after securing a major deal with pharmacy chain Guardian.

The supplement retailer intends to increase its presence in the country via multiple channels, including e-commerce, retail and distribution, with its products mainly sold in Guardian pharmacies.

Guardian has said it plans to make GNC's products available in about 4,000 new retail outlets in India by 2020, with 1,000 outlets expected to do so this year; this is a sharp rise from the current 50 or so outlets that carry GNC stock.

In addition, GNC India will market and sell its full product range on its website, and through other e-commerce players.

Rapid market growth

GNC CEO Ken Martindale said in an official statement: "We are very excited about our expansion plans in India, where there is significant opportunity for growth.

"Guardian Healthcare Services is an established player in India's health and wellness industry, and we believe the strength of our two companies will position us as one of the leaders in this attractive and fast-growing market."

Indeed, a 2017 report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (ASSOCHAM) stated that India's nutraceutical market was estimated to be worth $4bn in 2017, and this was expected to grow to $10bn by 2022, yielding a ~20% CAGR.

Global growth strategy going strong

This latest development is part of GNC's international growth strategy, and comes not long after it made headway in China with a $300m investment​ from Harbin Pharmaceutical Group (Hayao), which made the latter GNC's largest single shareholder.

Last August, GNC partnered with Alipay​ to make its products available Chinese consumers on the digital payment platform.

According to the firm's latest financial report, its international revenue for Q4 2017 stood at $45.3m, an increase of $5.6m (14.1%) from $39.7m in Q4 2016, primarily because of higher cross-border e-commerce sales.

At the moment, it has about 9,000 locations worldwide, with 6,700 in the US and the rest in 50 other countries, including India, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.

GNC has had a presence in India since 2004, but first partnered with Guardian India in October 2017. Guardian is now GNC's master franchisee in the country, and has exclusive marketing and distribution rights for GNC's products.

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