Tupperware reportedly on verge of collapse
The future of 77 year old MLM company Tupperware is uncertain.
In an April 4th regulatory filing, Tupperware expressed “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern”.
While I’ve seen this boilerplate statement in many MLM company regulatory filings, Tupperware’s operational status does seem to warrant concern.
BehindMLM hasn’t officially reviewed Tupperware. As part of me loosely keeping track of the MLM industry at large, I noted last year Tupperware began directly selling through Amazon and Target.
It’s part of Tupperware’s bigger strategy to reinvent the brand, with plans to grow the business through multiple retail channels and get its products in front of younger consumers who never experienced the era of Tupperware parties.
This suggested things weren’t going well, as it put the MLM company in direct competition with its distributors.
Outside of the US Tupperware was also recently busted fabricating distributor autoship orders in Mexico. That conduct dates back to 2017 or so.
MLM companies transitioning to retail isn’t anything new. It happens from time to time, typically screwing over distributors in the process.
Tupperware however has kept its MLM business going, leaving distributors in the dark as to their future.
Not surprisingly, Tupperware distributorship has plummeted.
As disclosed in Tupperware’s April 7th filing, the company has experienced a “sharp decline in the number of sellers”.
Additionally, as reported by CNN on April 10th;
Tupperware said it won’t have enough cash to fund its operations if it doesn’t secure additional money.
The company said it is exploring potential layoffs, and it’s reviewing its real estate portfolio for potential money-saving efforts.
The New York Stock Exchange also warned that Tupperware’s stock is in danger of being de-listed for not filing a required annual report.
Personally I don’t think Tupperware is going to be able to continue long-term as it has. If retail doesn’t pick up, it’s over.
What I suspect will happen is we’ll see Tupperware sold off at some point.
Due to its long history and unique product inventory (within the MLM industry), I don’t think we’ll see Tupperware acquired by another MLM company. I think it’s far more likely to be picked up by an existing competitor.
Bit hard to predict when this will happen but with Tupperware shares down 93% over the past 12 months, I don’t think predicting something happening within 12 months is unreasonable.
The short film “The Wonderful World of Tupperware” is an interesting watch. The 1st half is how the products were designed and made. As an engineer, I eat that stuff up.
The second half is less fun, but equally interesting: a display of cringeworthy cultlike behavior at local and national meetings.
If you stick with it to the end, you’ll “get” to see Anita Bryant and Johnny Desmond perform at the 1964 national convention.
This is what passed for entertainment back then, folks. Is it any wonder the British Invasion had such a ready audience?
I actually have three “handed-down” tupperware containers at home. They get frequent use. Can’t complain.
Thanks for the vid suggestion. I’ll add to my ever-growing YouTube tab window.
I became a Tupperware Manager in 1974 and for a young mom it gave me my first experience as an entrepreneur.
I could work around my family, drove a company car, had great camaraderie with fellow distributors, attended national conventions, earned a trip in the corporate Lear jet and still have many pieces of TW from the 70’s.
Frankly, I’m surprised the company has survived this long with Rubbermaid launching big competition, and the the dollar store abundance of containers.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the company that launched my sales and entrepreneur career.
This always seemed the big problem with Tupperware as a modern day MLM. The products have a reputation for being indestructible and everyone seems to have some handed down from their granny – so where does the recurring income come from? There’s only so many replacements people need.
A business can make a good living from selling products that are built to last but people trying to flog them to door-to-door are going to run out of potential customers.
MLM kinda made sense in the 1960s as a way to quickly expand distribution across the vast expanse of the USA, but not in the age when the internet will do that for you in an instant.
No surprise that they expanded into make-up and resorted to the usual dirty tricks.
There should be a fund to compensate those then kids forced by their gran to go to painful Tupperware parties decades ago.
You looking for reparations, Stevie?
Got around to watching that Tupperware doco today. I was all on board until they weird MLM part at the end.
Makes me wonder what could have been had Tupperware of kept the same product philosophy but without MLM. A lot of their modern stuff looks interesting (or at least comparable to the Zyliss/Joseph Joseph stuff I have).
I’d happily pay the premium for their products, assuming they managed to avoid becoming another “designed in X, manufactured cheaply in China” kitchenware brand. That of course brings up its own competitive challenges.
Agree it didn’t take much to entertain people back then – but it was obviously a different time. Made me a bit sad to see that even back then robotic automation creep was in full swing.
I know it’s inevitable, will continue to develop and that it’s good people aren’t doing these boring repetitive jobs anymore – but there’s a certain charm to it. Rose-tinted glasses I suppose.
I got a giggle out of the narrator going on about safety and requiring operators to use both hands to push buttons to operate the machinery. When clearly the lady was just banging away on one button with one hand lol.
Yes. I think I deserve reparations.
One of my first memories is of an over excited old lady with a blue rinse showing off a three bean salad in a Tupperware thing