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    GNC, Sakar Int’l Team on Branded Health-and-wellness Line

    More than 20 SKUs will be sold at grocery and other stores.

    General Nutrition Co. (GNC) and technology and consumer products manufacturer Sakar International have signed a license agreement to create a line of more than two dozen branded health-and-wellness products. Initial merchandise offerings will include heart rate and blood pressure monitors, weight scales, exercise accessories, and electronic pill boxes.

    Due to arrive at retail during the fourth quarter of 2011, the products will available through such channels as drug stores, home stores, supermarkets and mass-market retailers, as well as GNC stores, thereby significantly expanding the company’s presence in the retail channel. The agreement encompassed exclusive distribution throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    Additional products in the line will include pedometers, thermometers, stopwatches, sunrise clocks, massagers, grooming products, soap dispensers, UV cleaning, humidifiers, air/water purifiers, MP3 workout cases and workout headphones. IMG Licensing, a division of New York-based IMG Worldwide, is GNC’s exclusive representative across all areas for licensing.

    “Until now, the GNC brand has been largely confined to our 7,100-plus GNC stores,” said Tom Dowd, EVP of stores, operations & development for the Pittsburgh-based retailer of vitamin, mineral, herbal and other specialty supplements, along with sports nutrition, diet and energy products.. “This license reflects a strategic decision to leverage our strong brand recognition in order to provide consumers with health-and wellness-products offering GNC reliability regardless of where they are shopping.”

    “GNC is synonymous with health and wellness,” added Liza Abrams, VP of licensing at Edison, N.J.-based Sakar. “It’s a name that consumers trust. Partnering with GNC gives us an opportunity to join that circle of trust with a suite of products that helps people both monitor and improve their own health profiles.”

    Product prototypes were on display at the recent International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.

    Of GNC’s more than 7,100 locations, more than 5,500 are in the United States, including 897 franchise and 1,983 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations. The company has franchise operations in 45 countries.

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