Vitamin Shoppe helps vitamin-takers meet their recommended daily requirements. The fast-growing company sells vitamins, supplements, and minerals, as well as herbal, homeopathic, and sports nutrition and wellness products at more than 580 company-operated The Vitamin Shoppe stores located in about 40 US states and the District of Columbia, a catalog, and the websites VitaminShoppe.com and BodyTech.com. Stores offer about 20,000 items, including food and beverages and pet products, under more than 700 national and private-label brands. Founded in 1977, Vitamin Shoppe went public in 2009.
Vitamin Shoppe raised about $155 million in its October 2009 initial public offering. Concurrent with its IPO, the company changed its name from VS Holdings to the more familiar Vitamin Shoppe moniker. Proceeds from the offering went to the selling shareholders and not to the company.
In its first full year as a public company, Vitamin Shoppe was full of vim and vigor. Overall sales rose by about 11% vs. 2009 with net income up by about 130% over the same period. Sales at Vitamin Shoppe stores were driven by the addition of about 45 new locations and a rise in same-store sales of about 7%. Direct sales, which includes the online and catalog businesses, grew by more than 6% in 2010. The gain came from increased Internet sales, while catalog sales fell. (The company is reducing its catalog circulation as more customers shop online and at the growing number of Vitamin Shoppe stores.) Sales of the company's proprietary Vitamin Shoppe and BodyTech brand products account for nearly a quarter of its total sales.
Vitamin Shoppe is extending its retail reach through organic growth and acquisitions. In 2013, the company acquired the assets of Super Supplements, Inc. (SSI), a specialty retailer of vitamins, minerals, and supplements for about $50 million. SSI operates about 30 stores in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and extends Vitamin Shoppe's retail presence in the Pacific Northwest.
Anthony Truesdale, formerly president and chief marketing officer, succeeded Richard Markee as CEO of Vitamin Shoppe in 2011. Markee remained chairman. Under Truesdale, the company plans to open about 48 new stores in 2011, while growing same-store sales by 4% to 5%. The fast-growing chain has more than doubled in size since 2003. Its long-term goal is to operate more than 900 US stores. The retailer prefers to locate shops in freestanding buildings or corner locations in strip malls, rather than traditional shopping malls.
Besides adding stores, Vitamin Shoppe is experimenting with new store formats and products. Eco Shoppe -- launched in Austin, Texas, in 2009 -- as its name suggests, sells green-living products, including apparel, home, garden, and gift items; office and pet supplies; baby and kids products; and yoga gear. Previously the company launched an e-commerce site called BodyTech.com, devoted to products for bodybuilders and other athletes. In June 2010 the chain introduced Solixir Botanical Beverages, a line of "all-natural" sparkling beverages designed to awaken, restore, and relax.
Wells Capital Management owns more than 10% of Vitamin Shoppe's shares. Prior to May 2010, Irving Place Capital held more than 50% of the voting power of the company, but has since reduced its stake to less than 10%.