April 1, 2011, 3:50 PM

GNC cites its online strength as the retailer enters the stock market

The multichannel retailer of vitamins got a boost in its first day of trading today.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

GNC Holdings Inc., the parent company of multichannel retailer General Nutrition Centers, cites the strength of it e-commerce channel as one of its leading prospects for growth as it starts trading public shares on the stock market. Its shares were trading at over $17 at mid-day today on the New York Stock Exchange after debuting yesterday at an offering price of $16.

“We believe GNC.com is positioned to continue capturing market share online, which represents one of the fastest-growing channels of distribution in the U.S. nutritional supplements industry,” the retailer says in the S-1 initial public offering statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GNC, No. 237 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, posted a 26% rise in web sales last year to $59.0 million, up from $46.8 million in 2009, the company says in the IPO document. By comparison, total retail sales last year increased 7% to $1.344 billion, up from $1.256 billion in 2009.

GNC’s comparable-store sales—a calculation that includes the retailer’s e-commerce sales in addition to sales from stores open at least a year—were up 5.6% last year. GNC operates 7,200 stores in addition to GNC.com.

GNC says it plans to use the more than $300 million gained in its IPO to pay down debt.

GNC competes directly against Vitamin Shoppe, No. 177 in the Top 500 Guide, which completed its IPO in October 2009.

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Great coverage. What were Vitamin Shoppe's 2010 Web Sales? Would be great to compare to GNC.com

  • Boaz, Thanks for your comment. Vitamin Shoppe had 2009 web sales of $70.4 million, according to an Internet Retailer estimate. Its 2010 web sales will be listed in the 2011 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, which be available next month. --Paul Demery

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