GNC appoints industry vet to SVP merchandising post

6/22/2009

PITTSBURGH GNC on Monday announced the appointment of its second drug store veteran to its executive team — Robert Kral as SVP merchandising.

Kral is a 27-year veteran of Walgreens, where he rose from store pharmacist to store manager, district manager and operations VP positions to head, as SVP purchasing, merchandising and marketing initiatives for the $59-billion company. He left Walgreens in 2007.

Kral will be reporting to GNC’s other drug store vet, Beth Kaplan, president and chief merchandising and marketing officer, who boasts Rite Aid on her resume.

“[Kral] is a great retailer with a demonstrated track record in both operations and merchandising,” Kaplan stated. “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, [Kral’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.”

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