In France, Tupperware Finds a Market

May 17, 2011 at 7:00 am

 

Before Ouahiba Hamanache helped a friend host a Tupperware party five years ago, she never thought much about a brand long associated with stacking bowls and tumblers. But with a product line that increasingly emphasized high-quality cookware over storage, the mother of two figured there was money to be made in plastic. Hamanache, now 34, soon quit her job as a public school teacher in the eastern French city of Nancy to sell Tupperware full-time. Now a regional manager of 480 sellers, or “culinary advisers,” Hamanache says her team held 7,000 parties last year, each of which averaged about €510, or $757, in sales. Her top seller: a $147 Microvapor that steams foods in a microwave.

When Tupperware Brands (TUP) posted record first-quarter profit of $56 million on $636 million in sales, few were surprised that emerging markets made up 57 percent of the Orlando-based company’s revenue. Like Amway, Avon (AVP), and many other direct sellers, Tupperware is popular in fast-growing countries that sometimes lack adequate retail infrastructure or income opportunities for women. What’s raising eyebrows is the brand’s strength in otherwise sluggish economies like France, where sales grew 17 percent last quarter.

The Gallic resurgence owes much to Tupperware’s worldwide efforts to revamp a musty brand. Its homemaker-helper image hadn’t changed much since Earl Tupper first came out with polyethylene containers with airtight seals in 1946. Over the past five years, however, the company has attracted younger consumers globally with more sophisticated products like a $550 set of knives, “girls’ night out” parties, and what Chief Executive Officer Rick Goings calls a focus on sellers as “dynamic entrepreneurs instead of housewives seeking pin money.” In France, he adds, they put posters on park benches showing women who “almost looked like punk rockers using Tupperware.”  Read more.

D. Brady, Bloomberg Businessweek, May 5, 2011

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Entry filed under: France, Tupperware.

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