A Return to Health
Searching for his next challenge in the retail industry after previous stops at the Home Shopping Network (HSN), Dell and Gilt Groupe, David Zucker joined health and wellness products retailer Vitacost in August 2011 as its new chief marketing officer. He quickly got to work. In the 13 months Zucker has been at Vitacost, he's helped to oversee a complete brand makeover, including a new logo and corporate slogan ("take the cost out of healthy living"); the redesign of its e-commerce website; the launch of two health and wellness content sites (Wellness Times and Momonomics); and the upgrade of Vitacost's mobile website and apps.
Zucker is just one of a handful of new faces within Vitacost's executive ranks. The company's CEO, COO, CIO and CFO are all new to their jobs within the last two years. This infusion of new blood is just one part of an overall strategy developed by Vitacost's board of directors to grow the business and increase profitability long term. Following a few lean years prior to Zucker's arrival, Vitacost has enjoyed sustained sales and profit gains in the year-plus he's been there. Consider the following:
- net sales increased 18.1 percent for the 2011 fiscal year, and have been up 31 percent and 21 percent in the first and second quarters of this fiscal year, respectively;
- gross profit for the full year 2011 was up 6.1 percent year-over-year, and 25 percent and 35 percent in the first and second quarters of this fiscal year, respectively; and
- total new customers in the first and second quarters of 2012 have increased over 100 percent year-over-year.
Zucker credits a lot of this growth to the significant increase in budget he's been given to implement his marketing plans as well as the more effective use of those dollars. In addition to giving Zucker and his marketing team more money to spend on acquiring and retaining customers, Vitacost has invested in expanding the product offering those customers have to choose from. The retailer has expanded its SKU count by close to 10,000 SKUs in the last year.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.