Vitamins and supplements chain GNC has partnered with retail giant Walmart to roll out curated product assortments to more than 4,000 Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
Plans call for Walmart locations to begin carrying the GNC selections this month, Pittsburgh-based GNC said Monday. GNC described the partnership as an “exclusive agreement with Walmart.”
“With this collaboration we can deliver the GNC experience to a whole new group of consumers. With retailers like Walmart in our court, I’m confident our expanding wholesale distribution will continue making GNC the most trusted and recognized personal health and wellness brand in the marketplace,” Josh Burris, CEO of GNC, said in a statement. “The future of the wellness industry has a place for everyone, and GNC is making a healthy lifestyle more accessible than ever by delivering quality products to consumers via Walmart's expansive network of stores.”
Initially, GNC said, an assortment of men’s and women's essential everyday vitamins will be sold “in several different formats” in Walmart stores and on its website. Over the next six months, offerings are slated to be expanded to include more sports nutrition and weight management products throughout Walmart’s U.S. stores, according to GNC. Walmart will display the GNC products on endcaps, with selected items also being featured on shelves.
“We’ll be making an impact on new consumers every day in Walmart stores, and when they are ready to take their wellness journeys to the next level, we will welcome them in our stores for the full GNC and coach experience,” Burris added. “When you’re creating long-term consumers and driving growth at this level, that’s where the magic happens.”
A spokeswoman for GNC said its agreement with Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart won't impact GNC’s relationship with Rite Aid. Since 1998, GNC has held an exclusive partnership with Rite Aid in the chain drug retail channel. Through late February, 1,652 Rite Aid drugstores housed GNC store-within-a-store departments and, under a contract extension announced in early 2019, GNC and Rite Aid are slated to open another 33 GNC departments in Rite Aid stores through December 2021. The spokeswoman said GNC "hopes to continue to build that partnership" with the drug chain.
In late October, GNC completed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in which substantially all of the company’s assets were sold to China-based Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co. Ltd., which already held an equity interest in the retail chain. GNC announced in June 2020 that it planned to file for Chapter 11 under a reorganization plan that included the closing of at least 800 to 1,200 stores. At the time, the company had 7,300 stores globally and 5,200 in the United States, including approximately 1,600 Rite Aid locations. GNC now has more than 2,300 corporate and franchised stores globally.
*Editor's Note: Article updated with more information on GNC partnerships with Walmart and Rite Aid.