Iconic American Brand Admits It's in Deep Trouble: There's 'Substantial Doubt' It Can Survive
If you happen to have any Tupperware in your pantry, you may want to hang onto it.
Replacing it may not be such an easy task soon.
The demise of Tupperware — the ubiquitous food-storage container brand that’s been around since the 1940s — appears to be imminent, at least according to regulatory filings from earlier this month.
The filings, which are dated April 3, 2023, are in regard to Tupperware failing to comply with various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
It’s the second section, titled “Other Events,” that contains the grim news.
“In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 205-40, Going Concern, the Company evaluates whether there are certain conditions and events, considered in the aggregate, that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the filing reads. “This evaluation includes considerations related to financial and other covenants contained in the Company’s Credit Agreement as well as the Company’s forecasted liquidity.
“As further detailed below, the Company has concluded that there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern for at least one year from the expected issuance date of its Form 10-K financial statements.”
According to a CNN analysis of the legal filings, Tupperware is essentially saying that it doesn’t have enough cash to continue its operations.
The company is already looking at mass layoffs, as well as re-evaluating its “real estate portfolio” to see if any further pennies can be pinched.
CNN separately noted that the 77-year-old brand still has quite a bit of cachet, if not cash.
Tupperware is sold in nearly 70 countries and still raked in a respectable $1.3 billion in sales in 2021. But that $1.3 billion figure is also a stark 18.7 percent drop from 2020.
CNN, not immune to its own struggles, spoke to experts who attempted to explain Tupperware’s dire financial straits.
“In my mind, the company made two critical errors,” William Keep, professor of marketing at the College of New Jersey School of Business, told the outlet.
“With [regard to the] product, it lost ground to competitors,” Keep said. The professor then called out the brand’s stubbornness when it came to evolving methods of marketing.
Tupperware’s chief competitors — Pyrex, Ziploc and Rubbermaid, to name just a few prominent ones — have also better adapted to the rapidly changing landscape of marketing.
“Tupperware also consciously didn’t walk away from direct selling even as these multilevel marketing strategies stagnated in the ’80s and ’90s. When it was clear that model was no longer working, the company should have given up on direct sales and sold through retailers,” Keep added.
Tupperware has also lost touch with younger consumers, according to Venkatesh Shankar, professor of marketing and e-commerce at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.
“Millennials, and Gen Zers especially probably aren’t aware of its iconic status and really don’t have a reason to give it another chance,” Shankar said.
Those attempts to connect with younger audiences include working with LGBT advocates — a business strategy that has not panned out well for Anheuser-Busch.
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