Thursday, January 19, 2023

Campbell Soup To Relocate Offices From NC & CT to NJ HQ

 By Linda Moss CoStar News

Campbell Soup Co. plans to invest roughly $50 million in its Camden, New Jersey, headquarters as it consolidates and brings its snack-business operations in North Carolina and Connecticut to its corporate campus.

Campbell, based at 1 Camden Place, on Wednesday said it is looking to relocate 330 jobs from its snack offices in Charlotte and Norwalk and close those buildings. Then, over the next three years, the company aims to update and renovate its Camden site so it can accommodate the more than 1,600 employees who will end up being located at the campus. Local media reported that the Norwalk closing will be the shuttering of Pepperidge Farm's headquarters at 595 Westport Ave.

Campbell said it campus upgrade "will create a contemporary work environment that fosters connectivity and faster decision making" in a project that includes upgrading existing space and constructing new buildings, including a new research and development center and pilot plant. Capmbell is looking "to enhance work spaces, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, and communal spaces to support a wide variety of work styles," it said.

Those adaptable work spaces will be complemented amenities such as on-site day care, a cafe, a complimentary health-and-fitness center and other services, according to Campbell. Construction is expected to start in March.

The consolidation is a win for the Garden State and Gov. Phil Murphy. New Jersey saw an exodus of corporate headquarters and operations a few years back, and Murphy's administration has been trying to keep businesses in place or lure new ones with financial carrots such as a revamped state tax incentive program. Campbell's expansion is also a boost for Camden, a city plagued by crime, poverty and other urban issues.

“Campbell is an iconic New Jersey company, and I’m pleased with their commitment to invest and grow in our state,” Murphy said in a statement. “This plan will create jobs, stimulate economic development, and strengthen Campbell’s roots in Camden where their efforts have played an essential role in the continued transformation of the city.”

Consolidation, Cost Savings

The company said it expects to realize cost savings from consolidating the snack buildings beginning in fiscal year 2024 and to reach $10 million in annual cost savings by fiscal year 2026. The savings will be partially reinvested in the business and are included in the company’s plan to increase margins in the snacks division, according to Campbell.

No commercial roles are being eliminated due to the closing of the Charlotte and Norwalk office buildings, and Campbell said it will provide eligible employees with comprehensive relocation support.

Campbell has called Camden its home for more than 150 years, since 1869, according to President and CEO Mark Clouse.

“We remain committed to our two-division operating model and are confident that being together in one headquarters is the best way for us to continue building a culture that unlocks our full growth potential," he said in a statement. "This investment will ensure Campbell remains a great place to work and a compelling destination for top talent.”

Campbell has been evaluating plans to unify its snacks' headquarters following the acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance, a maker of salty snacks like pretzels, in 2018. At that time, Campbell merged Synder's-Lance with its Pepperidge Farm unit to create what it called "a unified snacking organization in the U.S. called Campbell Snacks." The division currently operates across multiple office locations, mainly split between Camden, Charlotte and Norwalk, according to Campbell. The Charlotte office building has 104,368 square feet, according to CoStar data.

Investing in Camden Campus

Campbell said it determined that investing in Camden and unifying most of the company’s office-based employees in one location "provides the greatest benefits for the business and will provide the snacks division with significantly improved facilities, resources and services than those that exist in Charlotte or Norwalk.

Employees in Charlotte and Norwalk will relocate to Camden in phases starting in mid-2023. For employees who choose not to relocate, Campbell will provide job placement support and severance-benefits commensurate with level and years of service.

The snacks building closings will not impact Campbell’s other operations in Connecticut and North Carolina. In Connecticut, Campbell will continue to operate its Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield. Opened in 2002, the bakery employs nearly 400 people, is actively hiring and has plans to expand this year.

In North Carolina, in Charlotte Campbell will remain a manufacturing and distribution center, with about 1,400 employees in the Pineville area. Combined with the company’s Maxton manufacturing site, Campbell employs roughly 2,500 people in the state.

“We have a long history in Connecticut and North Carolina and will continue to have key operations in both states,” Clouse said. “The decision to close these offices was difficult but it is the right thing to do for our business and culture. Unifying the company in one headquarters increases connectivity, collaboration and provides enhanced career opportunities for our team.”

Campbell has been at its current spot in Camden since 1957, when the corporate headquarters was moved roughly one mile from its original manufacturing plant. The company last completed a major expansion and renovation of its campus in 2010 at a cost of roughly $132 million. At that time, Campbell also purchased vacant buildings and parcels surrounding its headquarters, which spurred the redevelopment of Camden’s Gateway District and the location of other major businesses to the city, including Subaru of America.

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