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Tupperware CEO calls U.S. a 'Wal-Mart market'

February 01, 2013|By Shan Li
  • The CEO of Tupperware blames disappointing U.S. sales on the country's love of a good bargain. Above, a Tupperware party.
The CEO of Tupperware blames disappointing U.S. sales on the country's… (Associated Press )

The chief executive of plastic container giant Tupperware says the U.S. is basically a "Wal-Mart market" filled with shoppers who prefer cheap over quality.

That's the reason given by Rick Goings to explain why the Orlando, Fla., company best known for Tupperware parties has seen disappointing sales this year in the its U.S. market.

"Why do we do better in Europe than we do in the U.S.?" the CEO said in a conference call this week with analysts. "Hey, take a look at the average brand of cab that you get into in New York City. I mean they're filthy. They're junk. Get in a cab over here, it's a Mercedes or an Audi."

Goings goes on to explain that the company's top products simply don't appeal to bargain-hunting Americans.

"That's a discount market over there. They buy price," he said. Europe, on the other hand, "buys quality. Japan quality. And our issue is how do we find the right product mix for the U.S. to make it happen there."

Tupperware says 60% of its sales now come from emerging markets where, presumably, the shoppers have classy taste and are willing to shell out for pricey containers to hold leftovers. The company said its sales of $2.6 billion in 2012 were boosted by hefty growth in Asia and South America.

"We are not reliant on one part of the world or one market to perform in order to deliver," Goings concluded.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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