June 17, 2024
Tupperware’s stock craters after food-storage company warns it may go bust

Tupperware’s stock craters after food-storage company warns it may go bust

Tupperware Brands Corp.’s stock slid 45% Monday to the lowest level in three years, after the maker of food-storage goods issued a going-concern warning late Friday, saying it has hired financial advisers to help navigate its near-term challenges.

The news is just the latest blow to the company TUP, +4.03%, whose products were once a fixture in American homes, made popular in the 1950s by stay-at-home moms who would gather at special parties to introduce the product line to friends and family.

The company’s website opens on an image from the Amazon Prime show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with the title character hosting her own party and showing friends a pastel-colored vintage line.

That direct-selling model is no longer fashionable in the U.S., although it has traction in markets like Indonesia, where women have limited earnings opportunities but often gather to eat and drink.

From the archive: You won’t believe what Tupperware says is a key challenge

The company has struggled for years to retain its selling force, which has been shrinking thanks to the proliferation of other gig-economy opportunities around the world. 

In March, the company told analysts on its fourth-quarter earnings call that the sales force fell 18% last year.

That wasn’t even the worst news from that call, because Tupperware had warned in its earning release that it had identified weakness in internal control over financial reporting and that it expected to restate prior financials.

On Friday, it said that once it finalizes its 10-K annual report, which is now late, that the numbers announced in March would differ significantly from the restated numbers. It expects to file the 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the next 30 days.

Then there’s the issue of the company’s debt burden, which has led to repeated efforts to squeeze concessions from bank lenders so it can remain compliant with financial covenants.

See now: Tupperware stock craters after company warns its debt burden may force it out of business

Due “to the challenging internal and external business economics, coupled with the increased levels and cost of borrowings under its credit facility, the company currently forecasts that, if it is unable to obtain adequate capital resources or amendments to its credit agreement, it may not have adequate liquidity in the near term,” the company said on Friday.

Chief Executive Miguel Fernandez said Tupperware had embarked on a journey to turn around its operations and address its capital and liquidity positions.

The company is looking for additional financing and is discussing its options with potential investors or financing partners. Tupperware is also reviewing its real-estate portfolio with an eye toward potential sales or lease-back transactions, it said.

On its third-quarter earnings call in November, Fernandez acknowledged that some of the company’s problems are of its own making. “The global macro environment continues to be challenging, and we are not executing internally at a level or consistency that we believe we should be,” he told analysts on the call, according to a FactSet transcript.

One key challenge is connecting with younger consumers, who are unlikely to attend Tupperware parties. The company started to sell its goods at 1,900 Target TGT, +0.73% stores in the U.S. at the start of the third quarter as part of a strategy of reducing its reliance on direct selling.

But those sales accounted for just 1% of total sales in the fourth quarter, suggesting the strategy has not gained traction.

One challenge facing Tupperware is price. Amazon AMZN, -2.60% and other retailers such as dollar stores offer far cheaper food-storage containers. In addition, Americans are increasingly shopping online.

Tupperware’s stock has fallen 98% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.02% has fallen 9%.

Also from the archives: Think the Avon Lady is American? Think again

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