Briggs & Stratton Changes Mass Retailer Strategy; Plans Staff Cutbacks

Briggs and Stratton said this week it will no longer pursue placement of lawn-and-garden products at national mass retailers, although the company’s Engines segment will continue to support lawn-and-garden equipment OEMs that provide lawn-and-garden equipment to those retailers. The company will also continue to sell pressure washers and portable and standby generators through U.S. mass retail channels.

Briggs & Stratton also said production of horizontal shaft engines currently made in the Auburn, Ala., plant will move to the company’s production facility in Chongqing, China, or be sourced from third parties in Southeast Asia.

The company also said it intends to reduce its salaried headcount by about 10 percent during fiscal 2012. “While we appear poised for an improved lawn-and-garden market here in the U.S., our longer-term projections of the lawn-and-garden market in the U.S. and in Europe do not return to the peaks that we saw in 2004 and 2005 for the foreseeable future,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO. “We previously announced capacity reductions in our manufacturing facilities and have announced today that certain portions of our current business will not be strategic for us in the future. As a result, we are taking the difficult but necessary actions to reduce our salaried support staff as well.”

Briggs & Stratton Corp. is based in Milwaukee.

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