Tupperware warns it could go out of business after 77 years as shares drastically fall

Stock image of woman spooning leftovers into Tupperware - inset image of brand's shares falling
Despite dominating the homeware market for decades, Tupperware has fallen from grace with the brand struggling to resonate with younger consumers. Photo credit: Getty Images

Iconic homeware brand Tupperware is facing extinction, with its shares plunging by almost 50 percent on Monday (US time). 

The poor performance follows a filing issued by the American company last week that warned there was "substantial doubt" and ongoing concern regarding its "ability to continue" as a business, despite it once dominating the homeware market for decades.

The brand's decline in popularity over recent years has been attributed to a lack of interest among younger and more sustainability-savvy consumers, as well as competition from other homeware outlets such as Rubbermaid, Glad, Pyrex and Oxo.

Tupperware is reportedly seeking additional financing and if it fails to secure the funding, it will be unable to continue its operations. 

In a statement, CEO Miguel Fernandez said the business is currently reviewing its workforce and real estate portfolio to cut costs. 

"Tupperware has embarked on a journey to turn around our operations and today marks a critical step in addressing our capital and liquidity position," Fernandez said.

"The company is doing everything in its power to mitigate the impacts of recent events, and we are taking immediate action to seek additional financing and address our financial position."

Tupperware shares for April 10, 2023
Photo credit: Google

Tupperware is also attempting to avoid being delisted after the New York Stock Exchange served it with a warning for not filing an annual report, according to reports.

According to a market summary for Tupperware Brands Corporation on April 10, the share price has tumbled 93.60 percent over the past year.

Discussing the news in a segment for Yahoo Finance on Monday (local time), co-host Julie Hyman noted that many people - herself included - tend to save their takeout containers rather than buy new plastic storage options. 

"I just save my takeout containers and reuse those, so I'm not buying a lot of Tupperware these days. But there's obviously a strong legacy - it's one of these brands that has sentimental value," she said. 

Founded by Earl Tupper in Massachusetts in 1946, Tupperware Brands Corporation - formerly Tupperware Corporation - became an iconic homeware brand for its lines of innovative products, including kitchen gadgets, storage containers, crockery, and other tools for the kitchen and home.

In 2021, the firm struck a deal with popular retailer Target in a bid to attract younger demographics of consumers and revive its 77-year-old brand. Previously, it sold its products almost exclusively through its website or 'Tupperware parties': get-togethers historically run by a Tupperware representative, with a host inviting friends and neighbours to their home to view the product line. The hosts are then rewarded with free products based on the level of sales made at the party - a concept first popularised in the 1950s.

Speaking to CNN, retail analyst Neil Saunders said Tupperware's fall from grace can be attributed to a "sharp decline in the number of sellers, a consumer pullback on home products, and [being] a brand that still does not fully connect with younger consumers".

"The company used to be a hotbed of innovation with problem-solving kitchen gadgets, but it has really lost its edge."

In August last year it was announced that Tupperware would no longer be sold in New Zealand, with UOL - the exclusive importer of Tupperware in Aotearoa - confirming it would shut up shop on October 30 due to a declare in sales and Tupperware parties amid COVID-19. 

"For 47 of the last 49 years, the Tupperware business was built on the face-to-face party plan model where friends and family would get together for an hour or two of catch-ups, laughs and of course to see the latest and greatest from Tupperware," UOL said in a statement at the time.

"As we all know, things changed when COVID-19 arrived and the in-person party model, by necessity, stopped and international supply chains faced their own challenges. Even with the relaxation of lockdowns, there is an understandable reluctance for in-home parties."