Franchise News Release: Pittsburgh, PA - (Jan-23-2002)

Top GNC Executives Tour Houston Market to Honor Franchise Operator with Highest Sales in 2001

General Nutrition Companies, Inc., the largest specialty retailer of nutritional supplements, today announced that local Franchise operator Mubarak Ahmed Kahlon will be honored with the Highest 2001 Sales Award in the Houston market as GNC executives crisscross the country holding annual meetings with franchisees.

The meetings will also highlight growth over the last three years in the individual markets and in the industry in general, new business-building initiatives and the opportunity for incorporating GNC's new Smoothie Bar concept into local stores.

Russell L. Cooper, GNC Franchising's Senior Vice President and General Manager, said, "We are dedicated to our franchisees and take every opportunity to recognize and reward their accomplishments. We are thrilled to honor Mubarak with the Highest 2001 Sales Award and are excited to meet with our franchisees to focus on specific challenges and offer new and exciting programs to help them grow their businesses."

Customer-savvy ideas like the new GNC Smoothie Bar concept will be a major focus of the franchise meetings. The Smoothie Bar has been proven to increase foot traffic and lead to increased supplement sales while offering margins as high as 70 percent. This is a great opportunity for participating franchisees to increase their business. Also highlighted are GNC's new seven-day Gold Card program that allows franchisees' best customers to take advantage of a 20 percent discount on purchases made during the first seven days of every month and the company's new Mix and Match Buy One, Get One 50 percent off program.

GNC Franchising was named by Entrepreneur magazine as the number one franchise in the vitamin and nutritional supplement sector for the 13th consecutive year. In the last 90 days, GNC has awarded 43 stores, with 30 of those stores going to existing franchise operators.

GNC offers comprehensive franchise support, providing: site-selection, a three-phase training program, and a unique global intranet support system that provides GNC franchisees with the online training and product information, as well as operations, training and local marketing tools to help them meet their financial objectives. GNC's extensive franchise experience and support, combined with GNC's operating system and established brand presence, has resulted in the company rising to the top among industry franchise opportunities. It is the mission of GNC Franchising to be a worldwide leader in franchising by developing the world's highest quality support service and awarding license agreements to qualified candidates who share its growth and customer service objectives. General Nutrition Companies, Inc. (GNC), based in Pittsburgh, PA, is the largest nationwide specialty retailer of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, sports nutrition as well as personal care and related products. GNC operates more than 5,300 retail outlets throughout the United States, including approximately 1,360 domestic franchise locations, and 26 foreign markets, including Canada and Mexico. GNC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Numico N.V., a worldwide market leader in specialized nutrition that includes infant and clinical nutrition and nutritional supplements. Headquartered in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, Royal Numico's operations include manufacturing facilities in more than 50 countries and research facilities in The Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., China, Australia and the USA.


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