Entrepreneur Magazine Ranks GNC as Top Vitamin and Nutritional Supplement Franchisor for 14th Consecutive Year; Overall Ranking On Franchise 500 List Jumps From 28th to 11th

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 7, 2003--GNC Franchising, Inc. (www.gncfranchising.com), the world's leading franchisor of specialty vitamin and nutritional supplement stores, announced today that it has been named as the leading franchise organization in the vitamin and nutritional supplements category for the 14th consecutive year in Entrepreneur magazine's annual Franchise 500(R) list. Overall, Entrepreneur ranked GNC Franchising as the #11 franchisor -- up from #28 in 2002.

"We are extremely proud to be ranked as the leading franchise organization in our category for the 14th year in a row," said Russell L. Cooper, GNC Franchising Senior Vice President and General Manager. "2002 was an exciting year for GNC, as we continued to grow our brand internationally and build on the strength of our franchise organization. We also introduced a number of new business enhancements designed to better support our franchisees. Our overall ranking puts GNC in some pretty elite franchise company -- and the jump from 28 to 11 shows the improvements we have made to our business support systems."

Cooper noted that GNC's achievement is due in large part to the company's comprehensive franchise support program. GNC franchisees have exclusive access to GNC's superior quality brands, comprehensive training programs, and a unique global intranet system that provides them with online training, product information and local marketing tools to help develop their business. Coupled with GNC's nearly 70-year operational expertise, this support system has enabled the company to rise to the top among national franchise organizations.

Entrepreneur's Franchise 500(R) rankings, which appear in the publication's January 2003 issue, evaluate franchises on "financial strength and stability, growth rate, size of the franchise system, number of years in business and length of time franchising, start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing."

GNC Franchising, Inc. and General Nutrition International, Inc. are subsidiaries of General Nutrition Companies, Inc. (www.gnc.com). Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, GNC is a leading international retailer of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, sports nutrition as well as personal care and related products. GNC operates more than 5,000 retail outlets, including 1,360 franchise locations, in 32 global markets. General Nutrition Companies, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Numico N.V., a worldwide market leader in specialized nutrition that includes infant and clinical nutrition and nutritional supplements. Headquartered in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, Royal Numico's operations include manufacturing facilities in more than 50 countries and research facilities in The Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., China, Australia and the USA.

More information about GNC and franchising opportunities is available from GNC Franchising, Inc., visit the website at www.gncfranchising.com or email to [email protected].

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