Helen of Troy Ltd., which owns Hydro Flask and the housewares brand OXO (in the news recently for launching a camp kitchen collection at REI), is banking on continued growth in outdoor activities by sharpening its focus on those businesses and investing heavily in their distribution.
The El Paso, Texas-based company announced that it will build a 2 million-square-foot distribution center in Fayette County, Tenn., just east of Memphis. The facility will house the company’s housewares division (which includes Hydro Flask and OXO), create 350 jobs, and help Helen of Troy meet the global surge in outdoor product demand.
Construction of the distribution center should begin next month and finish by the end of 2022. This move comes as Helen of Troy continues to ride a huge wave of momentum across its portfolio—most notably with its outdoor assets.
As Outside Business Journal reported last month, Helen of Troy’s sales in its housewares segment grew 12.1 percent to $162.5 million in the fiscal fourth quarter. Operating income in the segment jumped 16 percent to $16.2 million. The company said that Hydro Flask, in particular, is expected to “benefit further as the post-pandemic landscape takes shape.”
“Having grown our sales by more than 60 percent since we launched our Transformation Plan seven years ago to over $2 billion, this new distribution center is a critical project to catch up with our expansion and deliver on our future growth strategies with greater scale and efficiency,” said Julien R. Mininberg, the CEO of Helen of Troy. “The new facility expands our distribution operations in the region, allowing us to re-optimize our existing facilities to better fit the specific needs of each of our business segments as we serve our retail and direct-to-consumer customers.”
The new distribution center isn’t the only move Helen of Troy is making as it looks to bolster the outdoor assets in its housewares division, whose headquarters are in Bend, Ore. The company recently tapped a seasoned executive to lead marketing efforts for its housewares division, appointing Phyllis Grove to the newly created position of senior vice president of marketing for housewares. Grove, who served as vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Hydro Flask for the last five years, will head up marketing efforts for the two brands.
The company also announced earlier this month that it would divest its mass market personal care business, not including the Latin America and Caribbean regions, to HRB Brands LLC for $44.7 million. The extra cash will help Helen of Troy further invest in its remaining brands, including Hydro Flask and OXO.
“This transaction advances Helen of Troy’s strategy to focus its resources on its growing portfolio of eight Leadership Brands,” Mininberg said. “Our Leadership Brands are among our highest volume and highest margin brands, which together comprised over 80 percent of global sales in fiscal year 2021. We expect this divestiture to help us accelerate our top- and bottom-line growth rates and allow us to redeploy the capital in line with Helen of Troy’s capital allocation strategy.”