June 23, 2009 // Franchising.com // Pittsburgh, PA, – General Nutrition Centers, Inc. today announced the appointment of Robert M. Kral as Senior Vice President of Merchandising. In that position, he will report directly to Beth Kaplan, President and Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer.
Kral is a 27-year veteran of Walgreens, the nation's largest drug store chain, where he rose from store pharmacist through store manager, district manager and operations vice president positions to head, as Senior Vice President of Purchasing, merchandising and marketing initiatives for the $59 billion company. He left Walgreens in 2007 to become an entrepreneur and consultant.
"Bob is a great retailer with a demonstrated track record in both operations and merchandising," said Kaplan. "He has extensive category experience in nutritional supplements. As a former member of Walgreens' strategic planning committee, he also has a strong understanding of strategic decision making at a major specialty retailer. At the same time, Bob's 12 years of experience in operations give him a clear understanding of what drives sales at the store level as well."
"GNC's smart merchandising, science-based product development and very strong store base allow it to dominate the supplements retailing segment," Kral said. "But there is clearly more room to grow, and I am very excited to be part of the GNC team that will make that happen."
GNC was assisted in its recruitment of Kral by Berglass + Associates, a leader in consumer goods recruiting.
GNC, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional products including vitamin, mineral, herbal and other specialty supplements and sports nutrition, diet and energy products. As of March 31, 2009, GNC has more than 5,200 retail locations throughout the United States (including 944 franchise and 1,733 Rite Aid store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in 44 international markets.