Orlando, Florida-based Tupperware Brands Corp. recently announced plans to close its only factory in France in March 2018. The closing of the factory will bring an end to 45 years of production at the plant in Joué-lès-Tours and will result in the loss of 235 jobs, according to The Connexion, a French news publication.
Another French news source, France Bleu, reported that the decision to close was due to falling profitability. Tupperware stated the closure of the factory was needed to restore its competitiveness: “Ten years ago, there were 55 machines at the Joué-lès-Tours plant. Today, there are 8, and they do not run at full speed.” Tupperware’s press service also said it estimates 40 percent excess production capacity in 2018, which is why it wants to shut down the site. Production is ensured by three factories based in Belgium, Greece and Portugal.
Factory employees, some of whom have worked at the plant for more than 25 years, have anticipated an announcement of job losses and reduced production, reports The Connexion. One employee told the French newspaper that over the course of several months, many of the machines at the factory have been moved to facilities in Portugal and Africa, where labor costs are lower.
The Joué-lès-Tours factory, located in the province of Indre-et-Loire in the western-central part of France, opened in 1973 to meet the French production of the Tupperware needs. In the 1980s, the company expanded its production efforts to build more high-tech items able to resist high temperature ovens and microwaves. The factory has also been the location where the pigments hues for Tupperware products have been created and sent to other manufacturing locations around the world, according to a Huffington Post article.
Tupperware’s response to the job losses to factory workers, as reported by France Bleu, was that everything would be done to help find a solution for the affected employees.
Tupperware, the global direct seller of preparation, storage and serving solutions for the kitchen and home through the Tupperware brand—and beauty and personal care products through the Avroy Shlain, Fuller Cosmetics, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, and Nuvo brands—is currently in 100 markets around the world. The company achieved $2.21 billion in revenue in 2016, down slightly from $2.28 billion in 2015.
In its Q2 2017 earnings report, the company reported that sales in France were down 20 percent for the quarter (19 percent in local currency). Tupperware South Africa, where Joué-lès-Tours factory machines have been moved, saw a significant increase, up 60 percent in dollars (41 percent local currency). Tupperware sales in France were down 18 percent (16 percent in local currency) for the first quarter of 2017 as well.