Yankee Candle owner Newell Brands cuts 13% of its workforce, and will close the Deerfield office
DEERFIELD — Newell Brands, owners of Yankee Candle, announced Monday that it will cut 13% of its global work force and close Yankee Candle’s corporate offices in South Deerfield.
Newell is also closing its offices in Boca Raton, Florida, CEO Ravi Saligram told employees in a message posted on Newell’s website.
South Deerfield employees who remain with the company will be moved to existing offices locally. Boca Raton employees will work remotely and from the Miami office as business requires.
The closures do not affect a candle and home scent research and development lab opened in Deerfield in 2019 or a second lab in Boca Raton. The closure in Deerfield will also not affect distribution and manufacturing or the Yankee Candle flagship store, the message to employees said.
The office closure will not be immediate, but it will happen in the first quarter of 2023, so over the next two months or so, wrote Danielle Clark, a Newell Brands spokeswoman, in an email.
“The lab, retail stores and distribution and manufacturing sites are not affected,” Clark wrote. “The Home Fragrance business remains a valuable part of the Newell Brands portfolio. The decision is part of a broader effort to adapt to new ways of working, encourage greater collaboration, reduce overhead and use our real estate more efficiently.”
The move comes as part of a corporate restructuring for the Atlanta-based conglomerate making everything from Sharpie pens to Coleman camping equipment.
Saligram said sales teams getting Newell products into stores like Target and Walmart and onto Amazon will be streamlined and combined across divisions.
Newell told investors that it expects to save $220 million to $250 million a year under the reorganization.
“I take very seriously decisions about the livelihood and wellbeing of our employees and understand that they will affect the lives of those who are impacted in a significant way,” Saligram wrote.
Layoffs began Monday and include retail workers as well as clerical and professional staff.
Overall, Yankee Candle has about 1,800 employees on its campuses in Franklin County. Of those, about 800 are full-time permanent employees at the factory. Yankee Candle adds 300 to 400 temporary employees seasonally to meet peak demand.
Maura Geary, executive director of the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center, said Monday employees started trickling into the career center on Arch Street in Greenfield, reporting that they were about to lose their jobs at Yankee Candle. That could have been part of the seasonal ebb and flow, but sensing a trend, the Career Center notified the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and its Rapid Response Team.
The Rapid Response Team contacts employers and mobilizes resources like unemployment insurance, job training and the like.
“Then once someone is laid off we do everything we can to connect them to the resource that can help them through the transition,” she said.
Geary said there is never a good time to go through a forced layoff. But conditions are favorable for those facing pink slips.
“We are still seeing that there is a labor shortage,” she said.
There has been a recent uptick in job-seeking customers at the career centers, either through layoffs or through people just deciding to look for work. But vacancies still outnumber candidates.
Also, federal COVID-recovery money has funded job training programs that are still open for enrollment. That means anyone laid off now has opportunities to get more training.
“It’s not going to last forever,” she said.
The Massachusetts December unemployment rate was 3.3%, down one-tenth of a percentage point over-the-month, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said last week.
Massachusetts gained 6,300 jobs in December. This follows last month’s revised gain of 15,800 jobs a month earlier.
From December 2021 to December 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 134,500 jobs.
Michael J. Kittredge II founded Yankee Candle in his family’s South Hadley home in 1969. By 1972, he had a 2,000-square-foot factory in Holyoke, and by 1976 he had doubled that factory space. In 1983, Yankee Candle had sales of $1 million and built a manufacturing facility and retail complex in Franklin County.
He sold the company in 1998 for $500 million and it has passed through a number of owners over the years.
Kittredge died in 2019.
Newell stock, NWL on the New York Stock Exchange, traded Monday afternoon at $15.95, up about 90 cents a share on the day.
In 2015, the company then known as Newell Rubbermaid bought Jarden Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $13.2 billion.