Coronavirus High Flier: Tupperware Finds New Life in the Stay-Home Trade

Coronavirus Stock to Own? Tupperware Reborn in the Stay-Home Trade

The coronavirus pandemic has lifted all kinds of technology stocks. But it’s also fueled rallies in a handful of old-economy stocks. Tupperware is one of them.

The maker of plastic containers entered the crisis with years of falling share prices. It lost about 99 percent of its value between late 2013 and March. But then a huge turnaround began, propelling Tupperware (TUP) stock more than 2,500 percent from its lows.

Several forces are driving the move. First, the coronavirus pandemic has kept millions of Americans at home and away from restaurants. That’s fueled demand for food-storage and groceries in general.

But the real story has been a major comeback story in once-iconic brand. Like many consumer companies, TUP historically benefited from strong name recognition and market share. That worked for decades, until the shift toward value and ecommerce took hold in the mid-2010s.

TUP’s business shrank, but its liabilities didn’t. It was soon targeted by short-sellers speculating on a potential bankruptcy.

Tupperware (TUP), daily chart, with 50- and 200-day moving averages.
Tupperware (TUP), daily chart, with 50- and 200-day moving averages.

Tupperware Parties on Zoom

The turn came in early April as newly hired CEO Miguel Fernandez started cutting costs. He followed by paying off debts and extending loans. That eliminated the risk of a cash crunches over the next year.

The final ingredient in the mix has been a reinvention of its classic selling model. Tupperware parties have gone online and even embraced video conferencing. The result? TUP’s salesforce got 10 percent bigger last quarter and revenue increased 14 percent last quarter. Meanwhile selling costs fell 3 percent.

Combined with wider gross margins and lower debt costs, TUP’s net income surged 315 percent.

All told, TUP has combined several of key drivers for stock movement: volume growth, margin improvement, business turnaround and balance-sheet repair.

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David Russell is Global Head of Market Strategy at TradeStation. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and analyst, his background includes equities, emerging markets, fixed-income and derivatives. He previously worked at Bloomberg News, CNBC and E*TRADE Financial. Russell systematically reviews countless global financial headlines and indicators in search of broad tradable trends that present opportunities repeatedly over time. Customers can expect him to keep them appraised of sector leadership, relative strength and the big stories – especially those overlooked by other commentators. He’s also a big fan of generating leverage with options to limit capital at risk.