Bed Bath & Beyond on Tuesday said that John Hartmann has been appointed chief operating officer and will also serve as president of its BuyBuy Baby banner, effective May 18. He will report directly to CEO Mark Tritton, according to a company press release.
Hartmann arrives from True Value Company, where he was president and CEO. Current Chief Commercial Officer Chris Kempa will take over as CEO at True Value, according to a release. Before True Value, Hartmann had leadership positions at home improvement company Mitre 10 (as CEO), HD Supply (as COO), The Home Depot, Cardinal Health and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Last week, Bed Bath & Beyond reported a 6.1% fourth quarter net sales decline and a 5.6% comp decline that included a 16% boost in digital comps. Net loss in the quarter narrowed year over year to $65 million. Like other retailers, the company has moved to preserve cash, including furloughing workers, cutting executive pay and canceling merchandise orders.
Most of Bed Bath & Beyond's stores, like many others, may be temporarily shuttered due to the pandemic, but the struggling retailer's new CEO is charging ahead with a turnaround that will likely soon determine its fate.
Since arriving from Target last November, Tritton has shaken up the retailer's C-suite and overseen the sale of its One Kings Lane furniture site and keepsakes site PersonalizationMall.com. The company has taken 1-800-Flowers to court over delays to the latter deal.
In statements Tuesday, the company said that putting the right team in place is crucial to the company's revitalization as well as to its need to pick up the pace in that effort, and promised more announcements "in the coming weeks."
Hartmann will report directly to Tritton and work to overhaul the retailer's IT, supply chain and real estate, including "re-engineering the Company's supply chain and technology infrastructure." That will entail enhancements to fulfillment to make it more efficient and less costly, while also bringing buy online, pick up in-store services to all stores, the company said. Tritton apparently sees potential in the retailer's baby banner, and Hartmann is tasked with "further developing" its growth strategy.