GNC in Trouble, May Go on Sale

Pittsburgh--Unless dietary supplements retailer GNC can bulk up on sales, its owner may have no choice but to shed the business. A spokesperson for GNC's Dutch owner, Royal Numico, said it could start looking at offers for the business in May, causing one analyst to speculate that the company could go at a bargain rate of $600 million. GNC, which oversees more than 5,000 stores, has seen net sales fall 10.3 percent over the past year. Last fall, the company launched a $20 million marketing project to make stores less intimidating to women by putting out flowers and educational materials alongside vitamins. The company also got rid of a buy-one-get-one-half-off program and adjusted prices down accordingly. New products are being planned this year and 60 staff members lost their jobs in April in a cost-cutting move.