General Nutrition Corporation (GNC), a US-based global specialty health and wellness retailer, has signed a franchise agreement with Clicks Group to open a new health and wellness retail store in South Africa in late February 2014.

Under the deal, Clicks will stock GNC’s international range of vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition and slimming products at over 50 stores.

The first GNC stand-alone store will open at Cresta Shopping Centre in Johannesburg on 1 April 2014, with three more stores to open in 2014.

Clicks Group CEO David Kneale said it was pleasing that a global retailer of GNC’s stature has selected Clicks as its partner to launch its first stores in Africa.

"As South Africa’s leading health and beauty retailer Clicks is committed to offering world class products and premium brands to consumers. Our relationship with GNC will allow us to capitalise on the increasing trend to self-medication. In our experience customers are becoming more health and lifestyle conscious, opting for preventative rather than curative medicine," Kneale added.

GNC South Africa general manager Sean Kristafor said besides offering customers world-class vitamins, sports nutrition and weight loss products, GNC will give Clicks access to extensive research and development, product innovation and global health and wellness trends.

"GNC is committed to providing quality sports nutrition products that do not contain banned substances and that adhere to World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) standards," Kristafor added.

GNC has over 8,400 outlets, including over 6,300 retail locations in the US, and franchise operations in 55 countries.