The Vitamin Shoppe is elevating its CBD assortment, adding wellness brand Prima to over 575 U.S. locations and its website on Tuesday. In turn, this will double Prima’s retail footprint.
Two-year-old Prima first launched DTC-only before expanding to retailers like Sephora and Nordstorm. Prima sales are 60% DTC e-commerce and 40% wholesale retail, said Christopher Gavigan, Prima founder and CEO. The Vitamin Shoppe previously launched its own in-store and online concept in August 2020 called CBD HQ, which encompassed 20 brands. Later that year, it added Martha Stewart’s CBD line to its assortment.
“Our goal was to demystify the experience of CBD because a lot of people are curious about it, but they don’t really know what it does,” said Muriel Gonzalez, The Vitamin Shoppe chief merchandising and marketing officer. “But we have brick and mortar stores with health [advisors] who can explain what the product is and that gives us a competitive advantage. We consider it a leadership category and continues to grow every year since we launched it.”
Prima’s customer breakdown is 80% women and 20% men. Vitamin Shoppe demographic is approximately 50% male and female, said Gonzalez. But sports nutrition gears more towards men, while vitamins lean toward women. She added that Covid-19 has inspired customers to shop between the two categories more often, and that one-third of customers now purchase from both.
“[Prima] is going to be a major player; the fact that they are a B Corp is going to be a defining aspect of the brand that our customers are going to respond to. The packaging is beautifully designed, feminine and will stand out,” she said.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, CBD has continued to gain traction despite initial disruptions in the brick-and-mortar environment. In March, Ulta Beauty onboarded CBD brand Happy Dance, while Rae Wellness expanded to CBD in June. CBD has also finagled its way further into hair care, makeup and other more unexpected beauty categories. On the regulatory and legislative front, a bill was introduced to Congress in July to legalize ingestible CBD while the Food and Drug Administration objected to full-spectrum CBD as a dietary supplement in August.
“The pandemic made health and wellness central to many people’s lives. People are prioritizing being healthy and well,” said Gonzalez. “We think that The Vitamin Shoppe can be the trusted source and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
The Vitamin Shoppe is notably one of only a few national retailers that have embraced ingestible CBD, while national retailers like CVS, Walmart and Target have hesitated. Sephora meanwhile created its own standards in Feb. 2020, becoming the first retailer to do so but it still does not sell ingestible products. The Vitamin Shoppe was acquired by Franchise Group Inc. in Dec. 2019 and according to second-quarter earnings released in August, earned just under $600 million in revenue for the first half of the year with a net income of approximately $53 million. The Vitamin Shoppe began offering franchise opportunities in June and expanded its e-commerce to South Korea in August.
“We are seeing retailers try to sort through a lot of noise in the [CBD market]; the early entrants in this category, unfortunately, cast a larger shadow of mislabeled or misrepresented products that [legitimate brands] are still managing,” said Gavigan.
Prima has continued to grow on all fronts and closed a $9.2 million funding round in May led by Greycroft and Lerer Hippeau. According to data shared by the brand, Prima sees repeat customers make up 35% of sales on a monthly basis. Its Night Magic, R+R Cream and The Daily products account for 61% of total sales.
“Now that we have a national home for our supplements and our body care allows us to make a deeper impact, our products are accessible across the country,” said Jessica Assaf, Prima co-founder and chief education officer. “It also signals The Vitamin Shoppe’s evolution from being a destination for fitness enthusiasts and recovery towards wellness and preventative tools.”