Even though Yankee Candles enjoys a sizable piece of the scented candles market, there have been consistent rumors or fears relating to the health of the company. So, is Yankee Candles going out of business?
There is no reason to believe in this rumor. The company enjoys a healthy business and is here to stay. Even Yankee Candle’s parent company, Newell Brands has said that Yankee Candle as a brand is valuable and isn’t in trouble.
So, what is feeding these rumors?
Factors Feeding Rumors About Yankee Candles Shutting Down
There Have Been Significant Layoffs
One thing that caught attention and was in the news, was the significant layoffs at Yankee Candle.
As 2022 was coming to an end, Yankee Candle (or, to be more specific, WoodWick) decided to shut down the factory at Forest, Virginia. In its communication, Newell Brands announced that the factory would close on December 31, 2022, and all 187 employees would be without work.
Soon after, in early January 2023, Yankee Candle announced that there would be significant layoffs, with almost 13% of the company’s office workers worldwide losing their job.
These layoffs shut down Yankee Candle corporate office in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, though several other locations were also affected. Layoffs also happened in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Yankee Candle office in Boca Raton, Florida was also closed down.
There is significance to the closing of the corporate office at South Deerfield, since this is the headquarters of the company and where Yankee Candle was born.
The parent company, Newell Brands says that these changes were part of a broader restructuring throughout the company. Newell calls it “Project Phoenix.” While the naming is self-descriptive, it remains to be seen if Newell Brands, or Yankee Candle, for that matter, rise from the ashes.
Yankee Candle Has Closed Several Stores
While the flagship Yankee Candle store is in Deerfield, the company operates hundreds of small-box format stores all across the country, though they’re more prevalent on the eastern coast.
Even so, Yankee Candle has shut down several stores in the last few years. In the first nine months of 2022, Yankee Candle closed at least 42 retail locations. This is a significant percentage of the number of the company’s stores.
Yankee Candle operated 260 stores in 2021. So shutting down 42 (or more) creates a significant impact.
People who see the store shut down near them might wonder if something is wrong with the company in general. And with several locations shutting down, the rumor mill can get quite a lot of feed!
It appears that Yankee Candle is pivoting towards big box stores to handle most of its sales. In many ways, that might make better sense than having their own stores handle the job.
My opinion is that the small box format itself might be challenging. Compared to competitors like Bath & Body Works (which has a significant presence in scented candles), Yankee Candle stores can appear small and less attractive.
Of course, Bath & Body Works sells a lot more than just candles, so the larger stores make better sense. Yet, the impression appears to stick with some people.
The Market Is Extremely Competitive
The US Scented Candles market is worth several billion dollars and is poised for significant growth. This report puts it at US $3.2 billion in 2022. No wonder everyone wants a piece of that pie!
It’s not just major corporate competitors that Yankee Candle has to deal with, there’s a significant number of small businesses, individuals, and hobbyists in the mix.
And while candle lovers like us are better off with this competition, Yankee Candle could be feeling the pinch.
In a way, this also leaves room for some unsavory marketing practices. Since Yankee Candle is amongst the best-known names in the industry, they can be a target for rumors or ambush marketing. This can take the shape of claims regarding toxicity of Yankee Candles, or rumors of the company going out of business.
To be clear, none of this is to throw shade on the competition of Yankee Candle. While the points have been mentioned for the sake of being comprehensive, the larger factor is that much of the competition is extremely competitive and capable.
Branding And Quality Issues
Yankee Candle took the crown when the market had little competition. Now, with an incredibly competitive market, the company is struggling to retain its presence.
Some people would argue that the Yankee Candle branding itself is getting dated and that the company needs an overhaul to maintain (and improve upon) its leadership position.
Then, there are quality and competitive issues. As competition pours into the market, there is an ever-increasing number of scented candles with better scent throw. Then there are candles with better packaging, different types of wax, more creative scents, and a lot more.
Yankee Candle appears to be somewhat resistant to change. While they have released some amazing fragrances over the past few years, I think it might be necessary for Yankee Candle to do more as a way to stay competitive.
Better branding would go a long way. As would a better portfolio – not just of fragrances, but also of candle designs, wax types, and more.
News of Yankee Candles going out of business is greatly exaggerated! While the company has struggled with maintaining its leadership role in the scented candles industry, it has a significant presence and impressive sales.
It does appear that the parent company of Yankee Candle, Newell Brands, is undergoing some difficulties and restructuring, and that in turn might have some effect on Yankee Candle.
Still, for all purposes, Yankee Candle remains steady in the business. Hopefully, the future performance of this iconic candle brand takes it further to success.