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GNC Holdings Inc (GNC), Rite Aid Corporation (RAD): This Health and Wellness Retailer Continues to Impress

As more consumers become concerned about their health and well-being, companies that cater to this trend are seeing increased demand for their products and services. The primary beneficiary of this trend is nutritional-supplements retailer GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC). Consumers are continuing to buy its products to help lead and build a healthier life. The focus on more natural ingredients has also lead consumers to GNC stores rather than going to their traditional drug stores.

Impressive second-quarter results

GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC)Shares of GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) hit a new 52-week high and rose over 10% following the release of the company’s second-quarter earnings results. Total revenue rose 9.2% to $676.3 million compared to last year’s second quarter. Sales rose across all of the company’s operating divisions. Same-store sales rose 6.8% at company-owned stores, which also included online sales, and 5.2% at U.S. franchised locations. Earnings per share increased 17.7% to $0.73 per share.

Member program rewards

GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) has revamped its Gold Card program. The new program relies on the company’s database and encourages more feedback from its members. The result has been that sales are spread out more evenly over the month instead of just in the first week on the old program. Gold Card members are able to pay a lower price than suggested retail prices to non-members.

The company initiated the new program by offering free membership and waived the initial $15 fee. As a result, 3 million new members signed up, giving GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) a total of 8.5 million members. The company plans to aggressively market its members with specials to get them back into the stores or buying online.

China growth

GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) announced that it is opening its first standalone location in Shanghai, China this month. GNC has been operating in China since 2011 and its prior strategy was having a store-within-a-store location at eight different retailers in China. GNC also sells its nutritional products online in China. GNC is looking to expand its standalone locations and open 25 more locations in the next year. To service this growth, GNC already has a Shanghai office and distribution center.

Key partnership

GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) has locations within approximately 2,190 Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) drugstores. GNC and Rite Aid have been partners since 1999, which brought GNC mini-stores to Rite Aid locations. This alliance has been great for both companies. It gave GNC an expanded footprint to sell its products and also provided credibility to the company’s wellness products by being sold within a pharmacy.

For Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD), it provided the opportunity to tap into the wellness market and provide other health products not typically seen in a pharmacy. Almost half of all Rite Aid locations now have a GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC) mini-store.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) is in the midst of a turnaround and it can use all the help it can get from its partnership with GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC). Rite Aid has been working toward refinancing and paying down its staggering debt load of $5.9 billion. Fortunately for Rite Aid shareholders, signs of a turnaround are starting to emerge. In the first quarter, the company posted its third consecutive quarterly profit. Rite Aid earned $90 million compared to a loss of $28 million in the prior year.

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