The Wall Street Journal reports that the GNC Holdings board of directors "has started a strategic review that could result in a sale of the company, days after the retailer of vitamins and supplements warned its turnaround efforts were struggling to lift sales." The board said it has hired Goldman Sachs "to assist with a 'review of a wide range of strategic and financial alternatives.' The process could result in a sale of the company or other changes, such as speeding the shift of company-owned locations to franchisees, GNC said."
- KC's View:
MNB reader Todd Watt had a great line the other day, when he wrote to me suggesting that "without reinvention GNC looks like RadioShack of the vitamin world. So many of its products can been found in other retail outlets that it seems out of the way to shop at them."
That's about as accurate - and damning - an assessment of this 9,000-store retailer as I can imagine.
The company brought in a new CEO two years ago, and while there have been some attempts to make the company more relevant and modern, clearly it has not moved fast and radically enough. Which offers pretty good lessons for any retailer ... you can't wait to be borderline irrelevant before trying to turn things around, and you always have to move decisively and quickly.
When I used to coach Little League, sometimes the little kids fielding the ball would just stand there, not knowing what to do with it. And I'd always tell them, 'he who hesitates is lost." (They'd often look at me like I had two heads.) I'd offer the same comment to the folks at GNC... but these days, it may be too late.