MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

GNC launches new omni-channel brand campaign

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pittsburgh – GNC Holdings Inc. is launching a new national brand campaign: "Beat Average." The campaign is designed to open a conversation with health-and-wellness consumers about their daily personal wellness goals and how GNC can be their ongoing partner and ally in beating average.

Developed by Carmichael Lynch, its agency of record, the campaign will debut globally in GNC’s 8,500 stores on April 25 and will premiere during network prime time on May 3. The campaign includes a mix of network prime, premium and targeted cable, out of home, newspaper, magazine and online media.

"Since 1935, we have been committed to being above average in our products, stores and customer service,” said Joseph Fortunato, chairman, president and CEO, GNC Holdings, “Our array of superior products can meet a wide range of individual needs. This campaign is grounded in GNC’s DNA and establishes ‘average’ as a common enemy we all can relate to when it comes to health and wellness. No matter who you are, average is in all of us and GNC is here to encourage everyone to "Beat Average" in regards to achieving their overall wellness goals and helping to celebrate their successes."

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FINANCE

Weather impacts Aaron’s earnings, revenues in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – Severe weather had a negative impact on financial performance at Aaron’s Inc. during the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Compared to the same period a year earlier, Aaron’s net earnings declined 25% to $38.3 million from $51 million.

Revenues dropped 1% to $585.4 million compared to $593.0 million for the first quarter in 2013. Same-store sales shrank 2.1%.

"Same store revenue and customer growth in both company-operated and franchised stores declined in the quarter," said Ronald W. Allen, CEO of Aaron’s. "Approximately 70% of company-operated stores have been identified as having operations adversely impacted by the severe weather events that occurred during the first three months of the year. This includes a significant number of store closings as well as elevated utility and maintenance expenses. We estimate the negative impact of the weather conditions on revenue during the quarter in the range of $5.5 million to $6.5 million and the diluted earnings per share impact between $.05 and $.06 per share."

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FINANCE

Weis Markets budgets $101 million for capital expenditures

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sunbury, Pa. – Weis Markets plans to invest $101 million in its growth program in 2014. That figure encompasses spending on 16 projects during 2014, including expansion of Weis’ 1.1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center in Milton, Pennsylvania.

“Since 2008, we have invested more than $500 million in our growth and improvement programs,” said Weis Markets president and CEO Jonathan Weis. “During this period, we completed more than 100 projects. As a company that self-distributes, our supply chain is a vitally important area for us. During the last year, we have increased our focus on maximizing efficiency by driving millions of dollars of cost out of the system, while maintaining our high standards for store service. This has helped us reduce store level inventories and improve freshness.”

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