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Vitamin Shoppe 4Q profit up 3 pct, hurt by Sandy

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (AP) -- Vitamin Shoppe Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income rose 3 percent after a hit from Superstorm Sandy.

Sales rose at existing stores and online and the company got a boost from new shops, but revenue growth fell short of analyst expectations, and shares fell.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, the North Bergen, N.J.-based seller of vitamins, nutritional supplements and health and beauty products earned $9.7 million, up from $9.4 million in the same period the year before.

On a per-share basis, earnings were unchanged at 32 cents. Stripping out the impact of Sandy, which struck the East Coast in late October and resulted in lost power for millions, costs related to an acquisition and opening stores in Canada, profit came to 40 cents in the most recent quarter.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $218.9 million from $214.9 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 40 cents per share on $223.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares slid $4.21, or 6.7 percent, to $59.01 in premarket trading.

Vitamin Shoppe said its revenue at stores open at least a year, a key retail measure that excludes sales from new or closing stores, grew 5.2 percent. Sandy shaved 1.6 percent off that gain. Online sales grew 13 percent. The company opened 15 stores during the quarter, including its first two in Canada, bringing its store count to 579.

Vitamin Shoppe plans to open about 50 new stores this year, compared with 54 in 2012. Revenue at stores open at least a year is expected to grow by a mid-single-digit percentage — the metric grew 8.2 percent for all of 2012.

Profit last year grew 35 percent to $60.8 million, or $2.02 per share, while revenue increased 11 percent to $950.9 million.