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March 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, March 2017


Click here to order the November 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


USANA Hits Billion-Dollar Milestone in Annual Revenue

USANA Health Sciences (USNA—NYSE) is the newest member of direct selling’s Billion Dollar Club, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

Management has reported revenue of $1.006 billion for 2016, a record for the Salt Lake City-based company. Once again, sales and Associate growth in Asia-Pacific drove the positive results, with sales rising 12 percent to $193.4 million in the region. Net income was $100.0 million, or $3.99 per share, an 11 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the company saw a 12 percent increase in active Associates.

“2016 was another exceptional year for USANA,” said Kevin Guest, CEO, in a news release. “We surpassed the $1 billion mark in net sales, generating our 14th consecutive year of record sales, and we reported the highest EPS in the history of the company.”

The company closed out the year with fourth-quarter revenue of $252.9 million, up 9 percent from a year earlier. A stronger U.S. dollar cut net sales by $9.2 million in the quarter. Revenue narrowly missed the $253.5 million predicted by analysts, in a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Management also said USANA is conducting a voluntary internal review of its China operations, Baby Care Ltd., related to compliance with expense reimbursement and other policies of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Looking to 2017, USANA sees full-year revenue in the range of $1.04 billion to $1.07 billion, with earnings per share of $3.80 to $4.10.


Isagenix to Add First European Market in 2017

Isagenix has announced plans to bring its wellness solutions to the United Kingdom.

Entry into the U.K. will introduce Isagenix not only to a new market, but to a new region as well. Up to now, the company has done business in the Americas, Asia and Australia. Management is targeting the second quarter of 2017 for a soft launch in the U.K. In the meantime, pre-enrollment is open for residents to express their interest in the products or Associate opportunity.

“The U.K. has been experiencing a renewed interest in exercise and aerobic activity since the 2012 Summer Olympics were hosted in London,” reads a company announcement, citing research by Euromonitor International. “Despite this, 67 percent of working-age men and 57 percent of working-age women in the U.K. are overweight or obese.”

‘Isagenix sees an opportunity to address these needs with its wide range of health products, which are categorized as “solutions” targeting weight loss, energy, performance and other aspects of wellness. The company also encourages a healthy lifestyle through its 16-week IsaBody Challenge. Those who complete the challenge have a chance to win an assortment of cash, prizes and trips awarded by the company.


Amway Posts $8.8 Billion in 2016 Revenue

Amway Corp. reports that revenue fell 7 percent in 2016, driven by soft sales in China, the company’s largest market.

In the past 12 months, overall revenue amounted to $8.8 billion, compared with $9.5 billion in 2015. The private company did not break down the results by market, but management said the top 10 markets by revenue were China, United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Russia and Hong Kong. Sales were up in seven of those 10 markets.

“Across the world, Amway did well in 2016,” said Steve Van Andel, Amway Chairman, in a news release. “We experienced sales growth in several top markets, saw double-digit revenue growth in nine additional markets, and continued to evolve the business in China as we seek to take advantage of shifting market conditions and achieve the market’s long-term growth potential.”

Amway has a portfolio of more than 450 nutrition, beauty and home products, which are sold exclusively through Amway Business Owners (ABOs). In 2016, nutrition continued to lead all other product categories, accounting for half of total sales. The company’s nutrition line, Nutrilite, is the world’s top-selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand, according to research by Euromonitor International. Beauty and personal care products accounted for another 25 percent of sales, and durable products 15 percent.


Tupperware Welcomes Third Global Links Scholar

Tupperware is making strides toward women’s economic empowerment and social change through Global Links, a public private partnership launched in 2011. The program was co-founded by Orlando-based Tupperware and nearby Rollins College, with the support of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The goal is to expand entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing and post-conflict countries.

Through Global Links, scholars from these countries are handpicked to travel to the U.S. for about a year, where they receive immersive training in social entrepreneurship to take back to their native countries.

In January, the third Global Links scholar, Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, arrived in Orlando. Chakraborty hails from India, where she is a professor of finance and accounting at Shri Shikshayatan College, a liberal arts women’s college in Kolkata. She also is faculty coordinator of the college’s entrepreneurship program. India currently boasts the 10th-largest economy in the world, but female participation in the job market hovers around 35 percent.

“For more than 70 years, we have provided women with opportunities to grow as entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Chairman and CEO. “Global Links takes this effort a step further, connecting scholars across cultures to disseminate best practices in entrepreneurship to communities in developing countries.”


Millions of Scentsy Customers Vote to ‘Bring Back My Bar’

Scentsy, the brand known for its wickless warmers and wax fragrance bars, has tapped into customer enthusiasm with limited-time revivals of some beloved products.

For several years, Scentsy would discontinue underperforming fragrances to make room for new offerings. New releases might keep customers coming back for more, but this strategy inevitably left some disappointed. The phenomenon even inspired a March 2016 company blog post, “Love Stinks: How to Cope When Your Scentsy Fragrance Is Discontinued.”

In 2011, Scentsy responded by launching Bring Back My Bar, a semiannual promotion that gives customers the opportunity to vote for their favorite retired fragrances. Once the votes are tallied, the top 20 fragrances are resurrected for a month.

Bring Back My Bar voting takes place in April, for fragrances available in July, and in October, for those in January. The company disclosed that in April 2016, customers cast more than 3 million votes in Bring Back My Bar—or BBMB, for those in the know. The latest round of winners, reintroduced in January, included favorites like Autumn Stroll, Cherry Vanilla and Coffee Tree.


Kleeneze to Consolidate Operations at New UK Hub

United Kingdom-based Kleeneze is consolidating logistics, fulfillment and distribution in a new 100,000-square-foot facility.

The seller of household and beauty products was acquired in 2015 by direct-to-consumer firm JRJR Networks, but up to now logistics had been contracted out to the former owner. Bringing the operation in house will enable Kleeneze to make a significant leap in development, growth and expansion, said JRJR Networks Founder and Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr.

The new facility is located in Rochdale, in the Greater Manchester area of northern England. The company, which has operated in the U.K. for nearly a century, is financing the investment through a $1.5 million deal with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The logistics hub is expected to bring more than 100 new jobs to Rochdale.


Amway Hits the Runway at New York Fashion Week

Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Amway’s Artistry makeup artists teamed with Pamella Roland to create makeup looks for the label’s runway show.

Designer Pamella DeVos, the woman behind the evening-wear line, staged her new collection on Feb. 10. In addition to dramatic gowns, cashmere coats and fur accents, the models sported beauty products by Artistry, Amway’s premium skincare and cosmetics line. DeVos also has a personal connection to the direct selling firm; her husband, Dan, is the son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos.

Artistry sales have made it a top-five premium skincare brand worldwide. In the past, Amway has promoted the brand through peripheral events surrounding New York Fashion Week, an eight-day affair that draws industry insiders from around the world, but a couple years ago, Artistry expanded its presence as Official Makeup Sponsor for Pamella Roland. “NYFW continues to be an incredible venue for Artistry,” Lisa Hunter, Amway North America Director of Product Marketing, said in an email.

Beginning last September at New York Fashion Week, when designers showcased their spring collections, Amway took the partnership a step further. The company’s global makeup artist, Rick DiCecca, creates the makeup look for the show, and Amway Business Owners (ABOs) work with him backstage to bring the look to life on the models. The makeup artists first prove their skills through an invite-only audition process.

In February, Artistry took its social media followers backstage ahead of the show, with a Facebook Live broadcast from New York City’s Chelsea Piers. “Working with other creative people is always exciting for me,” DiCecca told viewers. “Even more so is the fact that the ABOs I’m working with today actually sell the Artistry product. That’s unheard of in this industry.”

DiCecca created the runway look alongside DeVos, whose latest collection was inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko. His modern art canvases feature bold, rich colors with subtle movement and texture. “My homage to Rothko is really the lips—they’re bold, bright and beautiful,” said DiCecca. However, the foundation of the look, and of the Artistry line, is skin care. “When it comes to Artistry, we’re about the skin care, and then the cosmetics,” said Amway’s Rebecca Goh, Assistant Brand Manager. “ Cosmetics is one thing, but if you don’t have a good palette to start with, it doesn’t matter what kind of makeup you put on.”

As the broadcast concluded, DiCecca shared some advice for aspiring makeup artists, particularly those building a direct selling business. “Listen to the people you’re working on,” he said. “Really listen to what they’re saying, because that’s the only way you’ll figure out what they really need. If you solve some of the simple makeup problems women have—choosing the right foundation or skin care—you become her hero.”


Herbalife-Sponsored Cristiano Ronaldo Collects Soccer’s Top Honors

Whatever is in Herbalife’s nutrition products, it seems to be working for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Herbalife is Official Nutrition Sponsor of the international soccer star, who was recently crowned Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 by the sport’s international governing body. The Best FIFA Football Awards winners are determined by the votes of national team captains and managers from around the world, an online public ballot of fans, and a select group of journalists. Each of these groups hold equal sway in determining the winners.

“Herbalife Nutrition is proud to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo for this well-deserved award that celebrates an incredible year filled with amazing accomplishments,” said Michael O. Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO.

Herbalife sponsors professional athletes of all stripes, though none so widely recognized as Ronaldo, who is currently ranked the most famous athlete in the world by ESPN. Sponsored athletes use Herbalife Nutrition products on a regular basis, and Ronaldo has even collaborated with the company on a co-branded offering, Herbalife24 CR7 Drive.


Usborne Books & More Sustains Rapid Growth in Q3

Bookseller Educational Development Corp. (EDUC—NASDAQ) has reported record quarterly sales, driven by the company’s direct selling division, Usborne Books & More.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2017, ended Nov. 30, 2016, overall revenue hit $30.7 million, up from $24.4 million a year earlier. EDC is the sole American distributor of U.K.-based Usborne Books and owns Kane Miller Books, an imprint specializing in children’s literature from around the world.

At Usborne Books, quarterly sales rose 27 percent from the same quarter last year. Likewise, the brand’s Consultant base expanded from 17,200 to 28,000 in the same period. EDC posted a quarterly profit of $1.3 million, or 31 cents per share, on par with fiscal 2016 results.

This year, overall revenue is on track to exceed $110 million, up from $32.5 million in 2015.


Mutual Fund Clients Name Primerica Best in Customer Service

Over the past year, financial services firm Primerica not only reached an all-time high in managed assets but also earned itself another DALBAR Mutual Fund Service Award. The customer service award is a nod to Primerica’s ISP (Investment and Savings Products) segment. Each year, independent research firm DALBAR recognizes standout companies based on its comprehensive testing of service delivery, which takes place over the course of the year. Primerica has collected the DALBAR award in the mutual fund category for 14 years running. 

The company also closed out 2016 with a record $51 billion in client assets under management, a benchmark that goes hand-in-hand with Primerica’s focus on service, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Gregory Pitts. “Customer service has always been a top priority at Primerica. We continue to enhance servicing processes to deliver an excellent client experience.”