Secaucus, N.J. - For the third year in a row, The Vitamin Shoppe has received the 2018StellaServiceElite Overall Award – a top honor reserved for the best-of-the-best performers across multiple service channels.

StellaService's Elite Awards recognize retailers annually for best-in-class customer service across phone, email, chat, shipping and returns.  Less than 20 out of more than 500 companies measured by StellaService qualified for it.  The Vitamin Shoppe placed fourth and is among the seven companies to be named Elite Overall. This was the third year in a row that The Vitamin Shoppe placed within the top five. The company was also ranked number one in the Index for email and chat for the second consecutive year.

Commenting on the award, Mike Hollick, director of Customer Care, stated, "We are thrilled to receive this award for the third consecutive year.  In the current retail landscape where consumers have many options to shop, delivering best-in-class customer service is an important differentiating competitive advantage for us.  Our Health Enthusiasts strive every day to help our customers navigate our complex and broad product offering to find products that best meet their health and wellness needs.  Being recognized for best in class customer service year after year is an achievement we are very proud of."

The award is a bittersweet one for the retailer, however;  the Vitamin Shoppe is one of 12 retailers facing possible bankruptcy this year, according to theCredit Risk Monitor,  as reported inRetail Dive. Many of the problems that made 2017 a year that beat out the recession era for retail bankruptcies still persist for department stores and specialty retailers this year.  Amazon and e-commerce are growing and taking traffic away from brick and mortar outlets; off-pricers and discounters are squeezing out medium sized stores and consumers are spending more on experiences and less on products.

With a 4% to 9.99% chance of possible bankruptcy this year, the Vitamin Shoppe has been elevating its e-commerce penetration and has introduced a new subscription service. Like GNC, another store in danger of going bankrupt this year, and which announced at its first quarter 2018earningsconference call that it is shuttering 200 stores this year, it has suffered from mall traffic declines and competition in the supplement industry. Top-line sales fell 8.5% last year to about $1.2 billions, comps fell 7%, and the company posted a net loss of more than $252 million.

Despite this, the retailer will continue to place customer service at the top of its list of priorities. They told WholeFoods Magazine the following: "Regardless of how tumultuous the current retail landscape is, The Vitamin Shoppe will continue to make improving and enhancing the customer experience our priority. We have an unwavering responsibility to not just earn our customers’ trust but to also retain it through the manner in which we engage with them every day. We are proud to be recognized by Stella Services for our commitment to our customers and the exceptional services we provide."