ONEIDA, N.Y.–Oneida has reached an agreement to license its U.S. consumer flatware and dinnerware business to Robinson Home Products Inc., a housewares company best known for its tools, gadgets and other home-related goods.
The agreement ensures that Oneida’s products will continue to be widely available to consumers at retail, while allowing Oneida to “sharpen its strategic focus” on its foodservice, e-commerce and international businesses, Oneida said in a statement.
“We’re changing our business model as it relates to the consumer,” James Joseph, president and chief executive officer of Oneida, told HFN. He stressed that the company is not exiting the wholesale business, citing a healthy business in Canada, the United Kingdom and its Web-based direct-to-consumer business, but has found a “new approach to the wholesale business.”
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Robinson will acquire the assets of Oneida’s wholesale division and distribute all Oneida products in the flatware, dinnerware, gadgets and cutlery categories in the U.S. consumer wholesale channel. Oneida and Robinson will share new product design and Oneida’s showroom at 41 Madison Avenue in New York. Robinson will offer employment to Oneida’s entire sales staff and its marketing team at 41 Madison, according to executives from both companies. Oneida will continue to provide distribution services, procurement and supply-chain systems during a transition period.
“This agreement is further evidence of Oneida’s transformation into a global company that is well positioned for future growth,” said Andrew Church, chief operating and financial officer at Oneida. “Our partnership with Robinson simplifies our business model, further streamlines our business operations, improves our cash flow and, most important, frees up capital to invest in high return businesses, such as global foodservice and Internet sales.”
Robinson and Oneida have worked together in various capacities for more than 40 years. One of the more recent agreements between the two companies was to license the Oneida name on Robinson cutlery.
“I couldn’t think of a better partner to align ourselves with,” Joseph said. The pending agreement will enable Oneida to increase its consumer business as well as its market share, he added.
For Buffalo, N.Y.-based Robinson, the deal expands its presence in the home market.
“It broadens and diversifies our product offerings and strengthens our relationships with key customers,” said Robert Skerker, chief executive officer of Robinson. “Going forward we can offer better, more innovative programs and product offerings.”