‘Not stopping’: GNC franchisee ONI Global’s stresses ‘solid growth’ and offline expansion plans

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

GNC franchisee ONI Global said that there has been ‘solid growth’ this year and there are plans to continue expand its offline retail presence.
GNC franchisee ONI Global said that there has been ‘solid growth’ this year and there are plans to continue expand its offline retail presence.

Related tags Gnc e-commerce

Singapore firm ONI Global, a franchisee of GNC, has reported ‘solid growth’ for its performance this year and made clear its intention to expand its brick-and-mortar presence – despite the financial woes being faced by the global retailer in the US.

The company, which is the sole franchisee of GNC in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan, highlighted that it was an independent company unrelated to GNC Holdings.

Thus, it is not involved in GNC’s current financial restructuring and bankruptcy woes. 

In a statement, the Pittsburgh-based GNC Holdings also said: “business operations continue; all US and international franchise partners and corporate entities outside North America are not included in Chapter 11 process.”

Under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code​, a debtor can propose a plan of reorganisation to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.

As part of its restructuring process, GNC Holdings is planning to sell its business and accelerate the closure of at least 800 to 1,200 stores, which it said would make way for future investment to meet consumer demands.

GNC Holdings said it has about 7,300 retail stores, with about 5,200 located in the US and the remaining in 50 other countries as of March 31.

Group CEO Cynthia Poa told NutraIngredients-Asia ​said ONI Global had seen “solid growth” ​for its GNC business and viewed GNC Holding’s chapter 11 filing positively.

She explained that the filing would allow GNC Holdings to focus on its business without having to worry about the creditors.

A chapter 11 filing is one of the best ways to protect companies whilst they restructure and expand, and allow companies to focus on the business,”​ she said.

This year, immune health and weight loss products are the bestsellers, but she kept actual figures confidential.

As to how consumption behaviour will change in the upcoming months, she believes that more will choose online shopping, even for those who usually shop offline.

Due to the lockdown policies from various governments, e-commerce became a crucial sales channel. The least disruption to offline retail was in Taiwan, since there was no lockdown introduced.

Online grew exponentially during lockdown, as expected. And, we had a call centre operating daily too with very good results,” ​she said.

Nonetheless, offline retail has not gone obsolete, as it provided face-to-face contact with customers which she said had “always help with that one more sale.”

She also believes that there are consumers who preferred to wait for the brick-and-mortar stores to reopen to interact with their favourite salesperson.

The company currently operates 250 stores and she said that the number would continue to grow.

To boost its offline retail business, the firm would step up training, creative marketing, and launch innovative new products in the months ahead.

Product categories wise, the immune health range will remain the most popular due to the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 infection in the community.

“ONI Global Group is financially robust with a highly successful and self-funding operation. We continue to expand our footprint across Asia with heavy investment in transforming the company digitally keeping up with trends, going omni-channel, and excelling staffs' capabilities,”​ the company said in a statement.

The company is also the brand owner of LAC, Xndo, and Face On Clinic by Doctors.

Other regions

GNC is present in several regions in Asia via franchise or commercial partnerships.

In Hong Kong, Dairy Farm operates under the license from GNC and the brand’s products are also sold in Mannings stores in Hong Kong and Macau.

A GNC Hong Kong spokesperson told us that the company was communicating with GNC Holdings to understand the latest development and will make new announcements once there were further updates.

Meanwhile, the GNC Stores in Hong Kong are operating as usual and will not be impacted.

Elsewhere in Australia, it has partnered Rapid Nutrition​ and  Guardian in India ​ in selling of its products. In China, Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding is its largest single shareholder.

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