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Jan 6, 2020

Bed Bath & Beyond sells some real estate as part of turnaround

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Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., the home-goods retailer mired in a lengthy sales slump, rose after selling some real estate in a deal that generated net proceeds of more than US$250 million.

The properties represent about 2.1 million square feet of space, including retail stores, a distribution facility and offices, the company said Monday. It is leasing back the space in the transaction with an affiliate of Oak Street Real Estate Capital. The properties are located in Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, California and New Jersey, among other states, and include the company’s headquarters in Union, New Jersey.

Bed Bath & Beyond has struggled against competition from online retailers, discount and big box stores. Last month, six senior executives left the company, part of a management shake-up by new Chief Executive Officer Mark Tritton as he works to turn the retailer around.

The company, which previously said it was reviewing its real estate portfolio, said the proceeds may be used for operations, to reduce its debt and to buy back its stock.

The sale-leaseback “is likely the first of several steps that unlock shareholder value, including potentially divesting non-core assets,” such as Buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops and Cost Plus, said Anthony Chukumba, managing director at Loop Capital. These may buy Tritton more time to execute his turnaround plan, eliminate management distractions and boost earnings per share by reducing shares outstanding, he said.

Bed Bath & Beyond climbed as much as 5.3 per cent in New York to US$16.93. It gained 53 per cent last year amid optimism that Tritton, a former Target Corp. executive, will put the company on a stronger footing. The company’s shares had tumbled the previous five years.