Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products Industry Buzz

Organized retail theft targeted by Congress
Legislation establishing an Organized Retail Theft Task Force within the Federal Bureau of Investigation was passed by both houses of Congress in December and expected to be signed into law by the president. The bill directs the task force and U.S. attorney general to help establish a national private-sector database to track organized retail crime, which the FBI can then use to pinpoint theft rings' targets around the country and assign agents and resources to break up the rings. The Food Marketing Institute estimates that "professional shoplifting gangs" steal as much as $30 billion annually from retailers and suppliers.

Solgar boosts NBTY
Vitamin giant NBTY Inc. is already reaping gains from its August purchase of Solgar Vitamin and Herb for $115 million. For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, 2005, NBTY posted an $8 million increase in sales to $435 million. Without Solgar revenue of $17 million, the company said, fourth-quarter sales would have decreased $10 million from 2004. Likewise, North American retail sales increased 5 percent to $56 million, mostly on the strength of newly acquired Le Naturiste stores in Canada.

NBTY's net income in the fourth quarter was $11 million, compared with $21 million for the year-ago quarter, and sales were flat across most divisions. NBTY execs termed the results "disappointing" and said the Bohemia, N.Y., corporation will close about 70 underperforming Vitamin World stores as their leases expire in 2006. Vitamin World closed 36 stores and opened 21 new locations in 2005.

Savings in the bag for D.C.-area store chain
My Organic Market, a three-store chain in Maryland and Virginia, will encourage customers to cut waste by offering free, reusable bags made from a strong plastic fabric. It's part of MOM's ongoing Environmental Restoration Initiative. But Scott Nash, president and founder of MOM's, says there's an economic motive, too: The store aims to reduce its consumption of paper and plastic bags by half, keeping some 350,000 bags out of the waste stream.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 2/p. 14

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