MINNEAPOLIS -- Tupperware Corp., Orlando, Fla., will discontinue sales of its products in the 1,100 stores of Target Corp. here as of Sept. 1, the company said in a recent conference call.
Tupperware had begun testing in Target supercenters in October 2001 and rolled the program out to the rest of the chain eight months ago, said Rick Goings, chairman and chief executive officer. Also in October 2001, Tupperware had begun testing in 25 stores operated by Kroger Co., Cincinnati, in Ohio, Kentucky and Arizona, SN reported at the time. Without fanfare, the Kroger test was discontinued sometime in the middle of 2002, Tupperware's Jane Garrard, vice president of investor and public relations, told SN. Grocery shoppers spend a relatively short amount of time in a supermarket, an average of 20 minutes, according to Tupperware's research. "So it wasn't conducive to the demonstrations that our sales force usually does, and we decided it wasn't a good fit and stopped that program," Garrard said. Kroger did not respond to calls for comment.
People spend an average of two and a half hours in malls, where Tupperware continues to operate kiosks, she said. "They see the Tupperware brand and they are willing to stop and take the time to have the product demonstrated, and have our business opportunities explained to them."
Tupperware had a similar experience in the 75 Target supercenters it began its test with, Goings said in the conference call. Shoppers in the supercenter environment were more apt to spend time with Tupperware representatives, he said.
This contributed to sales and was consistent with the Tupperware sales strategy, he said. But the chainwide rollout to 1,100 Target stores resulted in a "disruptive" change, he said. Consumers perceived Tupperware as having "gone retail" and this hurt its core sales structure of independent representatives holding Tupperware parties in homes, Goings said.
"It wasn't worth the effort for the kinds of sales we get in a Target store," he commented. Sales in the Target stores had "achieved expectations," Goings said. "Our partnership with Tupperware has been a great success," said Gregg Steinhafel, president, Target Stores, in a prepared statement.
"Sales were good and it was a successful program," Target spokeswoman Lena Klofstad told SN. "But we respect the business decision Tupperware is making."
As to replacing the product line, "Target is always looking for different products that will delight our guests. That's an ongoing process for us."