Consumer products giant Newell Brands has started cutting jobs and closing operations as part of a restructuring plan.
Atlanta-based Newell announced its Project Phoenix restructuring plan, which would reduce the firm's number of employees by 13 percent, in January. Newell's brand portfolio includes Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Papermate and Graco.
Officials said at the time that the proposed cuts "are a continuation of the simplification agenda that we have driven over the last four years and in response to the difficult macro-economic environment."
In a July 28 earnings release, Newell officials said that the project "is expected to be substantially implemented" by the end of 2023. They added that the project includes initiatives designed to simplify the organizational structure, streamline the firm's real estate and centralize its supply chain functions, which include manufacturing, distribution, transportation and customer service.
Also in the release, Newell officials said the firm's Network Optimization Project started in the second quarter. That project aims to streamline its North American distribution network through several steps, including a reduction in the number of distribution centers and "completion of select automation investments."
An Aug. 7 Bloomberg report said that those closings will include eight warehouses and about 500 jobs. The report quoted President and CEO Chris Peterson saying those cuts represent about 2 percent of the firm's work force.
The report also said that Newell will continue investing in training and automation at its roughly 20 remaining warehouses. The firm also will add jobs at some distribution centers, adding back about 70 percent of the jobs lost over time.
Newell also previously said that it will close its corporate offices in Boca Raton, Fla., once home to Jarden Corp. — the housewares company and owner of the Coleman, Sunbeam and Yankee Candle brands — that Newell purchased in 2015. Boca Raton employees will work remotely and from an office in Miami, with home appliances remaining a priority for the company.
In the first half of 2023, Newell's sales fell more than 18 percent to just over $4 billion vs. the same period in 2022. The firm also posted a loss of $84 million for the half, after showing a first-half profit of $427 million in 2022.
On Wall Street, Newell's per-share stock price began the year near $13.50 but closed at $10.75 on Aug. 7 for a decline of 20 percent so far in 2023.