Following owner Franchise Group’s take-private deal earlier this month, specialty retailer The Vitamin Shoppe last week said Lee Wright has taken the CEO post permanently. He has been serving in the interim since January.
In early 2022, Wright joined Franchise Group as chief commercial officer, according to a company press release. Before that he had various roles, including COO and CFO, at home goods and electronics chain Conn’s.
In addition, Muriel Gonzalez, who had been The Vitamin Shoppe’s chief merchandising and marketing officer since 2020, was promoted to president. Her previous experience includes various merchandising roles at Macy’s, including oversight of Bluemercury.
Despite being one of Franchise Group’s retail chains, The Vitamin Shoppe began operating with franchisees in the U.S. only this year. The retailer has more than 690 company-operated stores under its namesake and Super Supplements banners. The Vitamin Shoppe also operates in select Asia, South America and Central America markets through local omnichannel partners.
In a statement last week, Wright said the supplement retailer’s growth strategy includes expanding that, as well as further developing its private brands.
“Across our organization, I am committed to driving operational enhancements and marketing innovations to serve our communities with the highest quality products, and industry-leading expertise and service,” he said.
Franchise Group has struggled in recent months and in March began forging a deal to go private. In Q1, its last report as a public company, Franchise Group reported a year-over-year revenue decline and a $108.3 million loss. In its annual report, Franchise Group listed its “substantial indebtedness” as a risk to its business and warned that rising interest rates “may adversely affect interest rates on certain of our outstanding indebtedness.” The company’s total long-term obligations, excluding current installments, as of April 1 stood at $1.4 billion.
Earlier this month a group of investors including Franchise Group CEO Brian Kahn agreed to a take-private deal valued at $2.6 billion. The company said it plans to keep its brand portfolio, which includes, in addition to The Vitamin Shoppe, Pet Supplies Plus, Wag N’ Wash, American Freight, Badcock Home Furniture & More, Buddy’s Home Furnishings and Sylvan Learning.