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Tupperware is on Target

Kitchenware to go on sale at stores in October

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Taking a giant step beyond its traditional parties, Tupperware Corp. will begin selling its products in 62 SuperTarget stores in October.

The stores will be staffed with Tupperware consultants who will explain and demonstrate the products, as they do at Tupperware parties.

The partnership with Target, announced Tuesday, is only the latest step the company, located outside of Orlando, has taken recently to expand the distribution of Tupperware products beyond the parties. In the last three years, Tupperware has sold its kitchen utensils and plastic storage containers at 148 shopping mall kiosks, online and on television.

Within the next five years, Tupperware products are expected to be in 1,000 retail locations, including Target stores and mall kiosks.

"It's the next step, but it's a big step," said chairman and chief executive Rick Goings. "This isn't going to be Tupperware products just sitting on the shelf."

Tupperware salespeople, who will earn their compensation based on what is scanned at the checkout line, will offer information on the product, recipes and time-saving tips. There will be about 40 to 50 Tupperware products available.

Target will get a cut of the sales in exchange for taking care of overhead, although Goings declined to reveal the percentage.

SuperTargets previously have had outside sales people come into the store to demonstrate and offer samples of food products, but this is the first time an outside group will have such a regular presence, said Douglas Kline, a spokesman for Minneapolis-based Target Stores.

"The product is being sold like any other purchase you make at Target," Kline said.

By placing Tupperware products in stores, though, the company runs the risk of having customers see them beside less-expensive competition. But Goings said he didn't think that would be a problem.

"We sell Rolexes, not Timexes," Goings said. "We sell an ice cream scooper for $15. You can buy a junk ice cream scooper for $3. Now a lot of people who were buying junk can buy Tupperware."

Analyst Rommel Dionisio of Friedman, Billings & Ramsey in Arlington, Va., said Tupperware is wise to place salespeople in the SuperTargets, as that will allow them greater contact with the buying public and reduce the chances of cannibalizing sales from the traditional parties.

Tupperware had a net income of $74.9 million on $1.07 billion sales last year.

"It gives the sales force an additional opportunity to sell with walk-by traffic," Dionisio said. "It gives them a chance to meet people they've never met before."

The presence at the SuperTargets should increase business for Tupperware's sales people, said Sandy Pickett, an Orlando-based Tupperware sales manager. Although there was initial concern that the shopping mall kiosks and online presence would take away from the parties, they've only added to the bottom line, she said.

"We weren't sure how that was going to go, but it has been successful in generating more business," said Pickett, who still gets 80 to 90 percent of her sales from parties. "I don't think it has taken away from our business."