Inks Two-Year Deal With AOL

Online vitamin and nutritional supplement retailer (Nasdaq: VSHP) announced today that it has signed a two-year, multi-million dollar (US$) alliance with America Online (NYSE:AOL).

Under the terms of the deal, will become an anchor tenant in the “Diet & Nutrition” department of AOL’s Shop@AOL marketplace. In addition, will receive gold tenant positions in other Shop@AOL departments, including “Drugstore & Pharmacy” and “Sports & Fitness.”

The company will also be promoted on other AOL properties, including Compuserve,, Digital City and Netscape Netcenter.

“’s alliance with AOL puts us in an even stronger position in this important winter buying season,” said Kathryn Creech, president and CEO of

Big Thanksgiving Week

In terms of traffic, is already doing well during the holiday shopping season. According to Media Metrix, was the sixth most visited e-commerce site during the Thanksgiving week, attracting nearly 1.2 million unique users and finishing ahead of Yahoo!’s shopping area and

Meanwhile, competitors such as and were not in the top 10.

Also, managed to finish behind only and ahead of as the most trafficked e-commerce site with a brick-and-mortar presence. The site has since fallen on Media Metrix’s listings, but the deal with AOL should give it a boost.

About sells more than 18,000 products from more than 400 brands. Products include vitamins, supplements, nutritional products, personal care, homeopathy, and fitness products. offers year-round discounts of 20 to 40 percent of retail prices and also features next-day delivery.

The company, which has been around since 1977, also operates 68 brick-and-mortar stores on the East Coast of the United States.

Stock Impact

Shares of soared in early trading today after the news, gaining 2-1/2 to 14-1/4. The stock has recovered since a lackluster initial public offering performance in October. The company went public at $11 a share on October 8th and closed its first day of trading down 1-1/4 to 9-3/4. stock fell as low as 7-1/4 before rebounding.

Investors in competitor (Nasdaq: MTHR) are hoping that the stock will follow a similar path., which has CMGI as an investor, went public at $13 a share last Friday.

The stock fell 3/4 to 12-1/4 on its first day of trading and has since traded as low as 8-7/8.

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