November 12, 2008, 12:00 AM

NBTY shakes off the weak economy to grow web sales by 26% in FY 2008

NBTY grew 2008 web revenue to $92.8 million from $73.7 million in fiscal 2007. For the fourth quarter web sales rose year-over-year by 31.9% to almost $25 million.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

NBTY Inc. kept its Internet sales pumped up in fiscal 2008.

For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, nutritional supplements manufacturer and retailer NBTY posted online sales of $24.8 million, compared with $18.8 million in Q4 of 2007, an increase of 31.9%.

But overall the company also posted net income of $18 million on sales of $602 million vs. net income of $48 million on sales of $496 million in the prior year. Net income dropped by 62.5% because of a lower gross profit margin, integration costs from the acquisition of Leiner Health Products Inc., weaker European retail sales, an investment in information technology and increased freight costs, NBTY says. The company completed its $371 million acquisition of Leiner, a manufacturer of store brand vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, in the third quarter.

The web accounted for 44% of sales for NBTY’s direct response and e-commerce business unit, which increased sales by 17% to $55 million in the fourth quarter from $47 million in Q4 of fiscal 2007.

For the full year, NBTY grew e-commerce revenue by 26% to $92.8 million from $73.7 million in fiscal 2007. Overall NBTY, No. 155 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, posted net income of $207.9 million on sales of $2.17 billion in fiscal 2008, compared with net income of $153.1 million on sales of $2.01 billion in the previous year. In fiscal 2008, the web amounted to 44% of revenue for the direct response and e-commerce business unit, which grew sales year-over-year by about 8.8% to $211 million from $194 million.

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