August 16, 2010, 12:05 PM

Vitacost.com's CEO departs

The web retailer also reports a 14% increase in Q2 net sales.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Vitamin and health supplements web retailer Vitacost.com has lost its CEO. The company says it and Ira Kerker have mutually agreed that he would leave. He also has resigned as a company director.

The company today also reported that net sales increased 14% in the second quarter but came in under company expectations.

Jeffrey Horowitz will take over as interim CEO. Vitacost, No. 80 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, hired Horowitz earlier this year as a special consultant and member of the board of directors. Horowitz was CEO and founder of Vitamin Shoppe Inc., No. 177.

Vitacost has hired executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to find a new CEO and up to four new directors.

In the second quarter ended June 30, Vitacost reported:

• Net sales increased 14.1%, to $54.0 million from $47.3 million last year. Net sales decreased 5.6% from $57.2 million from the first quarter of 2010.

• Gross profit fell to $14.3 million, down 5.3% from $15.1 million for the same period last year.

The company had expected second quarter sales of between $57.2 million and $58.2 million. The company says that during the second quarter it continued to deal with manufacturing and logistical problems that have led to back orders, and faced increased competition in the online vitamin and health space from competitors offering deep discounts. Vitacoast said it responded by increasing promotional spending and offering free shipping.

For the first half of the year, Vitacost reported:

• Net sales increased 19.2%, to $111.1 million from $93.2 million for the same period last year.

• Gross profit increased 1.7%, to $30.6 million compared with $30.1 million for the same period last year.

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