The details of the case are murky. According to consultant Joshua Schall, Ultimate Nutrition had hired several executive level employees over the past year whose mission was to reinvigorate the brand. Schall, who is the principal of J. Schall Consulting, said his contacts told him a strategic plan had been formulated and was going forward.
He said one of those executive level employees disseminated the news about the closure on Sunday and the notice went up on the doors of the company’s Farmington facility on Monday. One news report quoted one of the employees as saying that she had even been promoted recently.
Lumina data showed troubling trends for company
There were signs of trouble for brand stretching back more than a year. Lumina Intelligence, the new data service of William Reed, parent company of NutraIngredients-USA, collects data on what consumers say about sports nutrition brands online, where many of these companies live.
While it is impossible to always say who is posting the comments (whether some of them are by paid or otherwise compensated posters, in other words), the sheer volume of them controls for this to some extent. Lumina Intelligence has validated a way to use the comments, and especially the scores given to products online, to discern general trends.
The trend for Ultimate nutrition was not good. According to Thomas Morgan, one of Lumina’s data analysts, Ultimate Nutrition had started to falter more than a year ago. In running the data Morgan found:
- In half the countries where Ultimate Nutrition’s products were among the bestsellers, they had negative growth in online engagement between September 2018 and March 2019, hinting at a swan song.
- Ultimate Nutrition products were not found in the best-sellers of it’s home country, the USA.
Morgan said he also found job postings for Ultimate Nutrition as recently as three weeks ago.
Schall said that the company’s owner seems to have gone underground, and employees have been left without HR assistance. In addition, prepaid orders from international distributors have gone unfilled.
More than 100 employees out of work
A Connecticut TV station filed a report in which an employee said the company had between 100 and 150 workers at several locations, some of whom had worked for the company for as much as 20 years.
According to the TV report, the letter on the doors said:
“If you are reading this, please be informed that your employment has been terminated effective August 17, 2019. A packet of information will be sent to your mailing address within the next few days. If you do not receive the packet or have any questions you can contact us by writing to us.” The letter went on to cite a Connecticut post office box address.
The Connecticut Department of Labor issued this statement to the TV station:
“We have not been contacted by Ultimate Nutrition and we are unaware of the closures. We hope Ultimate Nutrition reaches out to the Department of Labor Response Team to help any individual that has lost their jobs to get assistance and enrolled in the unemployment programs to find a new position.”