Tupperware profits soar as pandemic shut-ins store leftovers

SILVER SPRING, Md (AP) — Tupperware relied on social gatherings for explosive growth in the mid 20th Century. In the 21st Century, it is social distancing that is fuelling sales.

Restaurant pain has turned into Tupperware’s gain with millions of people in a pandemic opening cookbooks again and looking for solutions to leftovers. They’ve found it again in Tupperware, suddenly an “it brand” five decades after what seemed to be its glory days.

The company had appeared to be on life support, posting negative sales growth in five of the last six years, a trend that seemed to be accelerating this year.

Long gone was the heyday of the Tupperware Party, first held in 1948, which provided women with a chance to run their own business. That system worked so well, Tupperware took its products out of stores three years later. But it has struggled as more families gave up making dinner from scratch and also dining out more.

Then the pandemic struck.

Profit during the most recent quarter quadrupled to USD34.4 million, Tupperware reported
on Wednesday.

File photo shows Kevin Farrell’s colourful Tupperware products at a Tupperware party in Bellflower, California. PHOTO: AP

The explosion of sales caught almost everyone off guard and shares of Tupperware Brands Corp, which had been rising since April, jumped 35 per cent to a new high for the year.

Shares that could be had for around USD1 in March, closed at USD28.80 on Wednesday.

Tupperware stands apart from most other companies that have thrived in the pandemic.

Unlike Netflix, Amazon.com, Peloton or even DraftKings, it doesn’t rely on a hi-tech platform.

However, it’s certainly not alone as the pandemic bends how we spend our time more rapidly perhaps than any point in our lifetimes.

On Monday the toymaker Hasbro said that its games division, which includes board games like Monopoly, saw a 21 per cent jump in revenue.

On Wednesday, Tupperware reported quarterly adjusted earnings of USD1.20 per share, triple what Wall Street had expected. Revenue of USD477.2 million was about 30 per cent higher than forecasts and 14 per cent better than last year.

CEO Miguel Fernandez said the company, based in Orlando, Florida, had shifted more heavily to digital sales to accommodate those sheltering in the pandemic. He also noted “increased consumer demand”.