Thursday, September 28, 2006

Layoffs At Zippo

Effective tomorrow, Zippo Manufacturing Co. will layoff 121 employees, about 15% of its workforce. The company blames Chinese knockoffs of its trademarked lighter for hurting sales. Also blamed are Transportation Security Administration regulations, high fuel prices and anti-smoking pressure.

Looking ahead, I foresee more shrinking of the market for Zippo lighters and additional downsizing just because fewer and fewer people are smoking. Except overseas, but that's where the knockoffs can prevail with impunity.

Worth mentioning is the real problem with selling a product of such quality and durability that there is little repeat business. Zippo has to rely on brand new customers to buy their product and those people are dwindling with the intense opposition to smoking.

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