Since its founding in 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond has been a go-to destination for home goods.
In recent years, however, the retailer has shown significant signs of struggle, including slumping sales and executive turmoil. 
We took a look at the rise and fall of the iconic big-box retailer. 

Once the golden child of big-box stores, Bed Bath & Beyond is now struggling to stay afloat. 

The company reported a $358 million net loss in its most recent quarter, the latest in a series of setbacks for the home goods store. In June, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it was replacing CEO Mark Tritton and a number of other executives in yet another attempt to reorganize its leadership. 

Now, analysts are saying the company is in its “end days,” with some speculating it will become the next meme stock, following in the footsteps of Gamestop before it. 

Bed Bath & Beyond was once a leading home goods retailer, appealing to shoppers across the nation with its strategy of abundance. The beloved store, which lined strip malls nationwide, became known for its huge assortment of products spanning every color and style.

Over the years, it became a go-to for just about anything for the home and — true to its name — beyond. 

We took a closer a look at Bed Bath & Beyond’s rise from a small linen store in New Jersey to a major national retail chain now on the brink of collapse. 

Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971 in New Jersey by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein.

The duo had formerly worked in management at Arlans, a local discount chain, and saw opportunity for growth in the bed and bath categories.

“We had witnessed the department store shakeout, and knew that specialty stores were going to be the next wave of retailing,” Feinstein told the trade publication Chain Store Executive in 1993. 

It was originally called Bed ‘n Bath, to reflect its specialty linens and bath products. The company would later rebrand to Bed Bath & Beyond in 1987.An employee pushes a cart on his shift.

During the course of the 1970s, Bed Bath & Beyond expanded to 17 locations, primarily in the greater New York area and California.

The 1980s also marked an era of increased competition for Bed Bath & Beyond, thanks to the rise of stores like Linens ‘n Things.

In response, the company launched its first superstore concept, a 20,000-square-foot store that would become the model for the modern Bed Bath & Beyond store.

The company has been widely credited as being at the forefront of the superstore movement in America. 

This new massive store featured a wide array of brands and products in nearly every color and style, setting it apart from department stores at the time that tended to stock a limited assortment of specialty collections.

Source: Funding Universe

This strategy is known by analysts as the “category killer,” a method also employed by retailers like Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Costco.

This method is intended to bring more shoppers into stores by selling a little bit of everything across all categories and consumer demographics.

Over the next few years, Bed Bath & Beyond opened more superstores in New Jersey, California, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, and Florida.

Source: Funding Universe

Its new store model — which smartly grouped product categories and strategically placed impulse buys near the register — was particularly conducive to strong sales. By 1991, sales reached $134 million.

Source: Funding Universe

Bed Bath & Beyond filed for an IPO in June 1992.

As the company continued to grow, it added popular categories like electric appliances.

In 1999, it reached $1 billion in sales.

Source: Funding Universe

By the start of the millennium, Bed Bath & Beyond had 311 stores across 43 states.

Source: Funding Universe

In 2002, Bed Bath & Beyond acquired the health and beauty retailer Harmons, followed by the holiday chain Christmas Tree Shops in 2003.

Over the next 10 years, the company continued to focus on acquisitions, including purchasing Buy Buy Baby in 2007.

Bed Bath & Beyond additionally purchased both Linen Holdings and Cost Plus World Market in 2012.A shopper at World Market.

By then, Bed Bath & Beyond began to hold a prominent place in popular culture, appearing in shows like “Broad City.”

During this period, big-box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond began to show signs of struggle, as consumers turned to e-commerce and other cross-category competitors like Walmart and Target.

Source: Racked

Suddenly, stores like Linens ‘n Things were going out of business.

In May 2019, CEO Steven Temares was ousted by a group of activist investors who called for his resignation in a brutal 168-slide presentation. Several board members also stepped down at the behest of investors.

In the presentation, the investors called company leaders at fault for failing to adapt to the modern retail landscape and causing sales to tank.

Adding insult to injury, the company also announced it would shutter 44 stores across eight states in 2020 to offset its declining sales,

Source: Business Insider 

In November 2019, former Target CMO Mark Tritton took over for interim CEO Mary Winston as the company’s new leader.

Source: Business Insider 

While some experts at the time anticipated that the appointment of Tritton — who formerly served as chief merchandising officer at Target — would bring promise, it wasn’t expected to be an easy turnaround.A messy display at a Bed Bath & Beyond store in New York City.

Source: Forbes 

Under Tritton, the company attempted to adopt a less “cluttered” and more organized shopping experience, including implementing “the biggest change in its product assortment in a generation.”

Source: Insider, WSJ

The revamp involved reducing its product selection and launching its own private-label brand.

Despite a boom in sales at the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to an increased interest in home goods, Bed Bath & Beyond’s newly limited product selection exacerbated supply-chain issues, leading to empty shelves and frustrated shoppers.

Source: Insider

Sales continued to decline, worsening with record-high inflation and decreased customer demand in recent months, according to Tritton.

“Our business has been impacted by extraordinary macroeconomic factors, such as the derailing of the global supply chain, continued disruptions from the Omicron variant, unprecedented inflation, rising interest rates, and a turbulent geopolitical landscape which have also weighed on consumer confidence,” Tritton told investors in April. 

In June 2022, the company announced it would replace Tritton as CEO, as well as swap out several top executives, marking yet another leadership shakeup for Bed Bath & Beyond.Mark Tritton

In its most recent quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond reported net losses of $358 million.

The company also recently announced it was discontinuing Wild Sage, its private-label bedding, decor, and furniture brand, CNBC reported.

Some are now are speculating Bed Bath & Beyond will become the next meme stock.Bed Bath & Beyond wanted to prevent overpacked shelves

Bed Bath & Beyond shares soared 29% this week thanks to meme-stock traders jumping on the stock, inspired in part by GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen betting on the company, according to CNBC.

Whether the company will regain its footing remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt Bed Bath & Beyond has a long road ahead.

Read the original article on Business Insider