Nature’s Sunshine, a multi level marketing company based in Lehi, UT, sells a variety of dietary supplements, functional foods and personal care items in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The company was founded almost 50 years ago and has since grown to be the world’s 26th largest MLM, according the industry publication Direct Selling News. The company’s annual revenue was pegged at $362 million in this year's listing. But Nature’s Sunshine has endured something of a swoon; the company brought in $378 million in 2014 with annual revenue falling to as low as $325 million in the intervening years.
That soft patch, brought on by structural weaknesses and a messy, protracted entry into the Chinese market, now seems to be fully in the rear view mirror. The company reported $100.3 million in the third quarter of its fiscal 2020, compared to $88.5 million in the same quarter a year previously, representing a 13% increase.
Easing lockdowns, technology investments buoy results in Asia
Nature’s Sunshine CEO Terrence Moorehead said the easing of COVID-19 related restrictions in Asian markets helped drive the company’s renewed growth particularly in China.
“China continues to lead the region with exceptional growth as revenue increased 27% in local currency versus prior year. The increase was driven by an intensified focus on recruiting, training and motivating distributors,” he said.
Moorehead also said the company’s renewed emphasis on social media platforms and investments in enabling technology is starting to show up in the company’s revenue numbers.
“We also saw some early benefits from our phase 1 digital initiatives that leverage our proprietary app, along with digital apps like WeChat, TikTok and others to attract and retain new customers. We will continue to make advancements in building our digital platform in this market and are just getting started,” he said.
“Overall, we're very pleased with the momentum of our Chinese business,” Moorehead added. He made his comments as part of an earnings call with stock analysts. A transcript of the call was posted on the site seekingalpha.com.
Moorehead said Latin American markets have opened up to some degree as well. Sales increased 20% in the region during the third quarter.
Still betting on hemp
Nature’s Sunshine says it remains committed to its recently launched line of CBD products even though some attention has been diverted to immune support supplements during the pandemic. The line, which attempts to differentiate itself from other CBD products with the addition of other herbal ingredients, will be expanded further, said vice president Nathan Bower.
“The increased focus on immune products in the marketplace overall, has shifted people's short-term focus . . . somewhat away from CBD. . . [W]e're still talking about 30%, 40%, 50% growth. So the opportunity is there. And we're still very, very bullish on hemp,” Bower said.