Leading Brands, Inc. Announces Termination of Distribution Arrangement with Energy Brands
Postponement of Introduction of PopStraw Progress Towards Other Key Product Launches on Track
VANCOUVER, CANADA - August 20, 2002 -
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: LBIX, TSX: LBI) Canada's largest independent, fully integrated brand management company, announces that it has agreed to terminate its relationship with Energy Brands for the distribution of Glaceau Vitamin Water and Go-Go Passion Energy Drink. The Company has also decided to postpone the introduction of PopStraw in its Johnny's Roadside® line of lemonades and iced teas, likely to Spring 2003.
Leading Brands Chairman and CEO Ralph D. McRae said: "We were recently advised by Energy Brands of their intention to discontinue their Go-Go Passion Energy Drink and we have consequently ceased distribution in Canada. Go-Go was producing limited sales for us and was a distant third in our energy drink line-up to Hansen's Energy™ and newly-introduced Base™."
"Coinciding with that we agreed to terminate all of our relationships with Energy Brands, including our agreement for distribution of their Vitamin Water product in Canada. We were particularly troubled by two developments. First, the introduction of a plethora of 'vitamin-enhanced' drinks by Energy Brands' competitors that would limit any first mover advantage and, second, Energy Brands' insistence that we not hire any of their employees to support our US expansion, in any circumstance. These were conditions that we were simply not prepared to accept.
Mr. McRae added: "Our decision to push back the introduction of PopStraw was driven by the simple fact that we are extremely busy with the launch of our new TREK™ Optimized Performance Beverages™ and Pez® 100% Juice™ lines. Demand for Trek™ continues to exceed all of our expectations as we continue our market-by-market rollout and ramp up of production. We remain on track for launch of Pez® 100% Juice™ by the end of Summer 2002."
"I also have a personal request. We receive numerous calls each week from shareholders anxious to know the progress of our launches. We try to take the time to answer these on a personal basis, but the call volume has become simply overwhelming. National product rollouts of this nature take time.
We urge those who have questions about the progress of TREK™ to consult the www.trekenergy.com website where, starting in a week or so you will be able to locate retailers who carry the product. We will also find a way to keep people abreast of the particulars of the rollout of Pez® 100% Juice(TM), when the time is appropriate. We are also considering initiating quarterly conference calls to discuss periodic developments."
About Leading Brands, Inc.
Leading Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBIX) is North America’s only fully integrated premium beverage company. The Company’s unique Integrated Distribution System (IDS) ™ offers turnkey, one-stop shopping to food and beverage brand owners, including manufacturing, distribution, sales/marketing and licensing. In addition, Leading Brands produces their own line of beverages such as TrueBlue®, LiteBlue®, TREK® Natural Sports Drinks, NITRO® Energy Drinks, INFINITY® Health Water™, Country Harvest® Juices, and Caesar’s® Cocktails.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this press release includes forward-looking statements. Words such as “believe”, “expect,” “will,” or comparable terms, are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, objectives, future events or performance and other developments. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. Such statements speak only as of the date hereof. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimations and projections are disclosed in the Company’s securities filings and include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, availability of raw materials, economic uncertainties (including currency exchange rates), government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other risk factors described from time to time in securities reports filed by Leading Brands, Inc.