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Jul 10, 2019

Bed, Bath & Beyond maps comeback as sales fall, activists circle

Shoppers enter a building housing a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. store in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Bed Bath & Beyond is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 10.

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Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY..O), the home-goods retailer that also owns Cost Plus World Market and Christmas Tree Shops, is reviewing its portfolio of store brands as part of a turnaround plan.

Key Insights

  • The brand review is one step in a four-part strategy that interim chief Mary Winston outlined Wednesday in her first major move since taking the helm in May from Steven Temares. He stepped down under pressure from activist investors.
  • The struggling retailer is still evaluating which brand concepts will remain in the portfolio but is “working with a sense of urgency,” Winston said on the retailer’s earnings call. The company won’t wait on the hiring of a new permanent CEO to make decisions about brands, she said.
  • The investor group -- which includes Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors LLC -- is probably pleased: It outlined a 100-day plan in April to beef up performance, including a call for a sale of non-core assets, arguing a divestiture could generate about US$1.4 billion.
  • Winston also said the company would shore up its flagging sales, cut costs and change its organizational structure. The company has already been investing to revamp its brick-and-mortar stores and boost its online presence to compete with the likes of Amazon.com Inc., but it still has more work to do. Same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, fell 6.6 per cent in the quarter that ended June 1, compared with projections for a decline of 5.6 per cent, according to Consensus Metrix.

Market Reaction

Shares of Union, New Jersey-based Bed Bath & Beyond swung between gains and losses after the report. While it’s little changed so far this year, the stock has lost about 44 per cent in the past 12 months.