Natural Foods Merchandiser

Aroma Naturals to be discontinued

Yankee Holding Corp., the South Deerfield, Mass. owner of the Yankee Candle Stores, is shuttering its Aroma Naturals business.

Aroma Naturals produced soy candles derived from natural plant and flower aromas that have been carried in Whole Foods, Mother’s Market and Henry’s Farmers Market, among others. The Irvine, Calif.-based Aroma Naturals is being discontinued due to “unprecedented economic challenges,” according to its website, which directs consumers to the store site. Officials of Yankee Candle did not return phone calls requesting comment.

“I love them and I’m sad to see them going by the wayside and we’ve worked with them since they opened their company in Irvine,” said Janet Little, spokeswoman and nutritionist for Henry’s Farmers Market. “Actually, I was just thinking I need to place an order for Christmas. It’s so sad how this economy has impacted people in the industry. Aroma Naturals was such a good company and product.”

The company is expected to fill orders for the holidays, but after that it will cease to exist, according to one industry expert. Yankee Holding Corp. acquired Aroma Naturals in 2005.

Overall, the company has suffered a net loss of $12.5 million in the second quarter of 2009. The company’s 2009 second-quarter sales were $119.3 million, a 3.6 percent drop from the same time last year. Sales in the company’s wholesale business experienced a 10 percent decrease from the same period last year, according to information released by Yankee Candle.

Aroma Naturals is not the only business the candle company has cut in recent months. In January, Yankee Candle also discontinued its Illuminations stores, a chain of 28 stores and the Illuminations Consumer Direct business.

The company pointed to weak retail traffic, particularly in the gift channel, due to the challenging economy and increasing jobless rate. The 2008 bankruptcy of Linens ‘n Things also hurt the candle company because the retailer was a wholesale customer for Yankee Candle.

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