Bed Bath & Beyond to close many stores as sales drop

Bed Bath & Beyond store on Running Hill Road in South Portland. It was not clear on Friday whether the four Maine outlets would be among the 150 stores the company is closing nationwide. Carl de Walsh / Staff Photographer

At the Bed Bath & Beyond store in South Portland on Friday, there was little evidence that the parent company may have been struggling.

A “Recruitment Now!” Banner hanging in the front window. One show invited customers to join a new rewards program, and instead of last-chance sale items, it was Halloween decor in the bustling check-out area.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer said on Wednesday it would close 150 of its 955 stores and lay off 20 percent of its 50,000-strong workforce. The news came as the company announced a 26 percent drop in sales for the second quarter of 2022, compared to the same quarter last year.

A Bed Bath & Beyond spokesperson won’t say if any of the four stores in Maine are on the chopping block. Branch managers in southern Portland, Brunswick, Augusta and Bangor said they were not authorized to talk about closures or other changes.

The company was struggling with supply chain problems and lost sales due to a shortage of inventory. In a presentation to shareholders on Wednesday, interim CEO Sue Goff announced that the positions of COO and Head of Stores had been eliminated. Goff is filling the role of CEO after the board of directors voted in June to fire former CEO Mark Triton, who led the company through dozens of store closures two years ago. A store in Auburn was closed during that tour.

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Optimizing and rebalancing inventory will now be a top priority for Bed Bath & Beyond, according to the presentation. Other planned changes include enhancing customer interaction with loyalty programs that can be used across different stores and websites.

Goff also said Bed Bath & Beyond will be back “to basics,” focusing on nationally recognized brands, after the company has branched out into several private brands under Tritton’s leadership.

Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal said the shutdowns and staff cuts will save Bed Bath & Beyond $250 million this year.

“The decision to close stores and reduce the number of employees is a difficult one,” he said. “However, these steps reflect changes in strategy and will allow us to focus our resources on areas of our business that offer the highest return as we move toward sustainable, profitable, long-term growth.”

In addition, the company plans to raise liquidity by selling up to 12 million shares of common stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Proceeds from the sale will be used for corporate purposes, including the payment of corporate debts.

Bed Bath and Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) share price fell from $12.11 a share on Tuesday’s market to $8.87 on Wednesday morning when the announcement was made. Shares closed at $8.63 on Friday afternoon.


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