March 3, 2014, 10:16 AM

E-retailer Vitacost.com eyes a possible sale

Total sales grew 16% and the company narrowed its net loss, but the web-only retailer of vitamins, supplements and diet products has retained Jeffries LLC to evaluate options. Read more to learn how the Top 500 merchant fared in 2013.

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At the same time it disclosed year-end numbers to Wall Street yesterday Vitacost.com Inc. also revealed it’s evaluating various strategic options, including a possible sale.

Vitacost.com, a web-only retailer of vitamins, supplements and diet products that’s No. 87 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500, has retained New York investment banking firm Jeffries LLC to help the company evaluate its various options including “a sale of the company, a business combination transaction or continuing to operate the company as an independent entity.”

Despite the news that a company sale is being considered, Vitacost.com isn’t releasing any specific comments as to why it’s looking at various deals and combinations and didn’t set any deadlines for a decision.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Vitacost.com reported:

  • Net sales increased 15.7% to $382.74 million in 2013 from $330.68 million in 2012.
  • Net loss was $13.72 million compared with $19.17 million in 2012.
  • Spending on fulfillment increased 1.4% to $33.97 million from $33.50 million.
  • Spending on sales and marketing decreased 0.1% to $32.26 million from $32.30 million.
  • Spending on general and administrative expenses increased 16.6% to $34.53 million from $29.61 million.

For the fourth quarter:

  • Net sales increased 14.4% to $97.26 million in 2013 from $84.99 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Net loss was $2.78 million compared with $3.17 million in the fourth quarter 2012.
  • Spending on fulfillment decreased 5.2% to $8.35 million from $8.81 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.
  • Spending on sales and marketing grew year over year 8.5% to $7.76 million from $7.15 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.
  • Spending on general and administrative expenses increased 35.4% to $8.75 million from $6.46 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.
  • Average order was $75.99 compared with $71.60 in the prior year.

“Vitacost.com ended the year with a strong fourth quarter as we delivered solid revenue growth, while also substantially improving our operating performance,” says CEO Jeffrey Horowitz.

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