FINANCE

E-commerce helps boost Vitamin Shoppe performance

BY Dan Berthiaume

North Bergen, N.J. – Strong results in its e-commerce segment, along with growing same-store sales and income from Super Supplements stores acquired in the fourth quarter, helped boost the performance of Vitamin Shoppe Inc. during the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013. On a year-over-year basis, fourth quarter net income grew 15.9% to $11.2 million from $9.7 million.

Net sales in the quarter grew 17% to $256.4 million from $218.9 million and same-store sales rose 4.6%. During the fiscal year, net income increased 9% to $66.5 million from $60.8 million. Net sales grew 15% to about $1.09 billion from $950 million. Same-store sales grew 3.5%.

In addition to 25% e-commerce growth during the fourth quarter, CEO Tony Truesdale also credited the acquisition of Super Supplements and opening of a new distribution center in Ashland, Va.

"We participate in an attractive growth industry,” said Truesdale. “We remain focused on our long-term top and bottom line results and continue to make investments to support our growth. Our business generates strong cash flow, and our balance sheet is solid providing significant financial resources."

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FINANCE

True Value earnings drop on rising sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – True Value Company reported declining earnings in the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 even as sales moderately increased compared to the same periods a year earlier. The retailer posted quarterly earnings of $12.5 million, a decrease of 57% from $29.1 million for the same period a year ago.

For the full fiscal year, True Value posted earnings of $55.3 million, a decrease of 26.2% from $74.9 million for the same period a year ago. True Value said the profit decrease was primarily driven by a 2012 fourth quarter litigation settlement gain of an ongoing matter.

Fourth quarter revenue was $340.7 million, up 0.2% from $340 million. Full year revenue was $1.41 billion, a 1% increase from about $1.4 billion. Same-store sales improved 2.1% during the fiscal year.

"We ramped things up in late summer, right through December, and I’m pleased to report we ended the year with increases in gross billings, revenue and comparable store sales," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "Our largest increase in both retail and wholesale comp store sales was in the farm, ranch, auto & pet product category. This category was up at wholesale 11.2%."

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Hispanic consumers more likely to use mobile for local shopping sources

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chantilly, Va. — Hispanic consumers are outpacing non-Hispanics in their adoption of mobile, social and online sources for local shopping. According to BIA/Kelsey’s Consumer Commerce Monitor study, nearly a quarter (23.6%) of Hispanic consumers reported they use tablets for local shopping, compared with 15.5% of non-Hispanics. And nearly half (48.5%) of Hispanic consumers use mobile devices for local shopping, compared with 32% of non-Hispanics. Among mobile Hispanic consumers, 52.5% report using their tablets and 42.5% report using their smartphones daily for local shopping.

When using social media for local shopping, Hispanic consumers index higher than non-Hispanics on all social media networks, except Facebook, with 61% of Hispanics and 67 of non-Hispanics reporting they use Facebook for local shopping. Other social networks used for local shopping include:

• YouTube: 17.7% by Hispanics; 10.3% by non-Hispanics
• Yahoo: 16.8% by Hispanics; 16.4% by non-Hispanics
• Google+: 11.9% by Hispanics; 10.8% by non-Hispanics
• Twitter: 11.1% by Hispanics; 6.7% by non-Hispanics

Despite their heavy social media use, 83.2% of Hispanic consumers list family and friends as their most trustworthy source for local shopping information. "How the Hispanic consumer shops will affect how a local business advertises and builds loyalty with this community," said Celine Matthiessen, VP analysis and insights, BIA/Kelsey.

"An integrated social, mobile and loyalty strategy will be a necessity to attract this demographic, as Hispanic consumers are very loyal to local businesses. Hispanic respondents to the CCM study reported that they supported an average of six businesses by becoming a fan or follower or liking a local business."

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