Los Angeles-based Herbalife recently announced the results of a Neilsen Co. survey funded by the global nutrition company. The survey of more than 10,000 consumers found that about 8 million U.S. customers purchased Herbalife products over a recent three-month period.
The findings indicate a broad Herbalife consumer base beyond the company’s network of about 550,000 independent distributors. The third-party study sheds further light on accusations made against the company by Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management. Following his $1 billion short against Herbalife’s shares last December, Ackman maintains that the company uses a questionable business model.
Herbalife has also announced plans to hire 250 full-time employees at its new Winston-Salem, N.C., plant by the end of this year. The plant is projected to double that number of hires by July 2014, when it reaches full production capacity.
The company cut in half its original three-year hiring timetable partly due to double-digit growth in demand for the plant’s product—particularly powder, liquid and teas. Chief Operating Officer Richard Goudis said, “The growth of these products is faster than the growth of the company as a whole; therefore it is important that we get what will be our largest and most-efficient plant running sooner so we can benefit from increased sales sooner.”