Bed Bath & Beyond on Wednesday reported first quarter net sales increased 49.5% year over year to nearly $2 billion but decreased 24% from 2019.
The retailer's comparable sales grew 86% over 2020 figures and 3% compared to 2019, driven by digital sales growth of 84%, according to a press release.
Bed Bath & Beyond's operating loss narrowed more than 84% year over year and more than 82% from 2019. Its net loss shrunk to $50.9 million from $302.3 million in the year-ago period.
Bed Bath & Beyond, and the broader home goods category of retail, benefited over the last year as life suddenly centered largely around the home.
But even as the country begins to show signs of recovery, it appears the retailer's momentum isn't slowing down.
"We have started the year in a position of strength and are clearly on track to accomplish our goals," CEO Mark Tritton said in a statement. "2021 marks the first year of our three-year transformation following the groundwork we laid in 2020 – a year of historic and necessary change for this organization against the backdrop of unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19."
Bed Bath & Beyond on Wednesday reported its fourth consecutive quarter of comp sales growth and gross margin of 32.4%, an expansion of 570 basis points, "exceeding our expectations," Tritton said.
The retailer has been busy executing its three-year turnaround plan, which includes remodeling stores, investing in technology and introducing several private labels.
Bed Bath & Beyond has already introduced six of the eight planned private labels it hopes to introduce by late February next year. More recently, the retailer has leaned into launching some of its owned brands with a greater focus on digital, further cementing its goal of becoming an "omni-always" retailer.
When kitchen and dinnerware brand Our Table launched in early June, the retailer introduced a cooking series, "From Our Table to Yours," across Bed Bath & Beyond's IGTV channels. The three-part series featured chefs Joe Flamm, Vivian Howard and JJ Johnson. The retailer continued its emphasis on digital with the launch of Wild Sage — a line featuring bedding, decor, furniture and bath products. Bed Bath & Beyond created dedicated social channels on TikTok and Instagram for the brand, aiming to cater to a younger audience.
Bed Bath & Beyond expects the strength it has experienced this past year to continue as it raised its full-year guidance Wednesday. The retailer now expects net sales to be between $8.2 billion and $8.4 billion (up from its previous projection of $8 billion to $8.2 billion) while raising its comp sales projections for the second through the fourth quarter to be in the low-single digits.
"We have made meaningful progress against our transformational pillars during this early stage of our multi-year plan," Tritton said. "We are a stronger, more agile company than ever before and well on our way to building long-term growth and unlocking greater shareholder value."