Beginning in the 2016 lawn and garden season, Briggs & Stratton will narrow its assortment of lower-priced Snapper consumer lawn and garden equipment and consolidate its manufacturing facilities in order to further reduce costs. Briggs will continue to focus on premium residential products through its Snapper and Simplicity brands, and commercial products through its Snapper Pro and Ferris brands.
Briggs & Stratton will close its McDonough, GA, location and consolidate production into existing facilities in Wisconsin and New York. Production of pressure washers, snowthrowers and lawn tractors will move to its Wauwatosa, WI, manufacturing facility, and production of zero-turn lawnmowers will be moved to its Munnsville, NY, facility. Production is estimated to be completed in McDonough and transitioned to the other facilities during the first quarter of calendar 2015.
Briggs & Stratton’s dealer product offerings under the Snapper Pro, Simplicity and Ferris brands as well as sales of Snapper and Murray-branded lawn and garden products at Walmart are unaffected by these announcements.
"While we have seen improved sales of our lawn and garden equipment during our fiscal 2014, in an effort to improve the operating performance of our Products business, we believe it is necessary to simplify our Snapper product line, reduce our offerings of certain low-volume and lower-priced Snapper lawn and garden products, and reduce the related manufacturing capacity and expenses," commented Todd J. Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton. "We will continue executing our strategy to focus on those premium products that generate higher margins and returns for our shareholders.”
The McDonough, GA, facility currently manufactures pressure washers, snowthrowers, zero-turn lawn mowers and smaller lawn and garden tractors. These changes will affect approximately 475 employees over the course of the next several months. Briggs & Stratton will provide assistance programs, continued benefits and outplacement services to the affected employees. Moving production of pressure washers, riding lawn tractors and snowthrowers to the Wauwatosa, WI, facility will add approximately 220 new full-time positions and up to approximately 150 temporary seasonal employees. Employment at the Munnsville, NY, facility is estimated to remain at current levels.