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GNC plans big expansion in India

BY Marianne Wilson

General Nutrition Corporation is ramping up its business in India, where the company has had a presence since 2004.

As part of its larger international growth strategy, GNC is working with master franchise partner, Guardian Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd. to aggressively expand in India. The move comes on the heels of the U.S. retailer entering into a strategic partnership and joint venture with a leading pharmaceutical company in China for the manufacturing, marketing, sale and distribution of GNC-branded products in China.

In India, GNC said it plans to grow from its current position of approximately 50 retail locations, primarily in Guardian pharmacies, to multiple channels, encompassing retail, e-commerce and distribution, among others.

As part of the new strategy, Guardian intends to make GNC products available in approximately 4,000 new retail outlets across Indiaby 2020. The company expects 1,000 retail outlets to add GNC products to their offering this year. GNC India will also market and sell its full product line through the company’s website and via other e-commerce players.

“We are very excited about our expansion plans in India, where there is significant opportunity for growth,” said Ken Martindale, CEO of GNC. “Guardian Healthcare Services is an established player in India’s health and wellness industry and we believe the strength of our two company’s will position us as one of the leaders in this attractive and fast growing market.”

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Report: Boxed rejects Kroger Co.’s purchase offer

BY CSA Staff

Boxed is staying private — for now, anyway.

The retailer that sells bulk groceries, household products and other items online rejected a $400 million acquisition offer from Kroger. As a result, the online retailer is pursuing a new funding round to remain private, according to Bloomberg.

A source told Bloomberg that Boxed’s board voted last week to reject the offer from the supermarket chain. While the company also has interest from Amazon, Target, and Costco Wholesale, Kroger was the only company to make a bid.

Boxed has a $470 million valuation.

To read more, click here.

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Kroger posts strong earnings growth but outlook disappoints

BY Marianne Wilson

Kroger Co.’s earnings and revenue rose in the fourth quarter, but it issued a conservative profit outlook for 2018 as competition in the supermarket sector continues to intensify.

Kroger’s net income for the fourth quarter totaled $854 million, or 96 cents a share, compared with $506 million, or 53 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Kroger earned 63 cents a share, matching analysts’ estimates and up from 53 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Revenue increased 12.4% to $31 billion, slightly ahead of forecast for $30.8 billion.

For the full year, Kroger reported net earnings of $1.9 billion, or $2.09 per diluted share. Adjusted net earnings totaled $1.9 billion, or $2.04 per diluted share.

Total sales increased 6.4% to $122.7 billion in 2017.Excluding fuel, the 53rd week and the Modern Health merger, total sales increased 2.2% in 2017 compared to 2016. Kroger’s gross profit margin fell 0.2% in 2017.

“We launched Restock Kroger [Kroger’s term for its updated strategy] in the fall of 2017 and finished the year with positive momentum in our sales and overall business,” stated chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “Customers are letting us know that they see, feel and appreciate our efforts to redefine the customer experience – and they are rewarding us with growing loyalty. This is the cycle that creates long-term value for shareholders.”

Kroger launched its Restock plan in October, amid growing pressure from Amazon, Walmart, Aldi and others. It includes an accelerated commitment to digital and e-commerce efforts, a front-end transformation and an increased emphasis on it private-label brands.

For fiscal 2018, Kroger said it expects earnings of $1.95 to $2.15 per share, below the $2.15 analysts were expecting.

“As we embark on our first full year of Restock Kroger, we are encouraged at the start of 2018 and confident in our ability to deliver on both our plan for the year and our long-term vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift,” McMullin said.

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