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 600 company-operated The Vitamin Shoppe stores located in some 45 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. It also sells directly via catalog, and the websites VitaminShoppe.com and BodyTech.com. Stores offer about 17,500 items, including food and beverages and pet products, under more than 400 national and private-label brands. Founded in 1977, Vitamin Shoppe entered the Canadian market in 2012.
The New Jersey-based company's largest markets are California, New York, and Florida, home to about a third of its stores. Vitamin Shoppe opened its first two stores in Canada in late 2012 and has plans to expand internationally through franchise and wholesale opportunities.
The company operates retail stores under the Vitamin Shoppe and Super Supplements banners. The retail segment accounted for 89% of sales in 2012, with the rest coming from the Internet and catalogs.
Sales and Marketing
Vitamin Shoppe relies on location, location, location! as a prime marketing tool, adhering to the belief that situating its stores on prime real estate draws customers. It advertises in magazines, and relies on radio and television ads to promote certain new stores. Direct mail is another avenue for promotion. The company reported $14.7 million in advertising and promotion costs in 2012, up 16% from 2011.
The Vitamin Shoppe is full of vim and vigor, having more than doubled its net sales from 2005 to 2012 and posting positive same-store sales for 19 consecutive years. Its sales increased 11% in 2012 versus 2011, to $951 million. Net income rose 36%, to nearly $61 million, over the same period. Driving the double-digit sales gain was the addition of about 50 new stores, an 8% increase in same-store sales, and rising direct sales, partially offset by a $3 million reduction in sales as a result of Super Storm Sandy in October 2012. Specialty supplements, sports nutrition products, and vitamins, minerals, and herbs were all strong performers. Sports nutrition and weight management categories are among the chain's fastest-growing categories.
Vitamin Shoppe is extending its retail reach through organic growth and acquisitions. After adding 50 stores in 2013, the chain looks to open another 60 in 2014. 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. To supply its growing store base, the company opened a distribution center in Ashland, Virginia in 2013. The new 311,740-square-foot facility began receiving inbound inventory in June 2013 and began outbound shipments to store in September.
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.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In February 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.
Wells Fargo & Co. owns 12% of Vitamin Shoppe's shares. Eagle Asset Management owns about 10%.
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.