Babylist, a baby registry and product discovery platform, is among the bidders that want to purchase BuyBuy Baby from bankrupt Bed Bath & Beyond.
“The BuyBuy Baby digital assets would be valuable to us because of the brand awareness amongst an older audience in particular: when people find out they’re going to be grandparents, for example, they are more likely to seek out a legacy brand like BuyBuy Baby,” founder and CEO Natalie Gordon said in emailed comments to Retail Dive.
Bed Bath & Beyond, which filed for Chapter 11 in April, has sought bidders for all or part of its businesses, including BuyBuy Baby. According to The Wall Street Journal, the owner of children’s clothing brand Janie and Jack, Go Global Retail, is bidding for BuyBuy Baby and plans to keep the chain stores open. CNBC reported last week that an unidentified bidder was seeking a financial partner and an additional $50 million for a stalking horse bid to acquire BuyBuy Baby out of bankruptcy.
BuyBuy Baby had 137 locations and Bed Bath & Beyond had 762 stores in April. The company moved to close its entire chain of 50 Harmon beauty stores earlier this year ahead of its Chapter 11 filing.
If Babylist’s bid is accepted, Gordon said they’d maintain the Babylist brand and that BuyBuy Baby’s domains would redirect people to Babylist.
Babylist confirmed that they are interested in buying only BuyBuy Baby’s digital assets. They declined to disclose the amount of the bid.
“In just over a month since Bed Bath’s bankruptcy was announced, we’ve seen nearly 200,000 new customer sign-ups,” Gordon said. “BuyBuy Baby was the only other national baby brand and baby registry. With the bankruptcy and sale of the business, there is white space that we are poised to take over as the clear leader in the $88 billion baby products market.” The company plans to open its first showroom in Los Angeles this summer.
Gordon described the baby-related retail sector as recession proof and non-discretionary. Established in 2011, privately held Babylist said in 2022 it generated $290 million in revenue and drove almost $900 million in gross merchandise value.
Expecting parents, Gordon said, “will always buy items for their babies because they are essential (e.g. diapers, car seat) as opposed to ‘nice to have’ things. We’ve also seen that the village that supports new parents is willing to support even more during difficult times (e.g. pandemic, economic turndown) based on how much consumers are spending and shopping.”
Babylist said it saw a 380% increase in its annual number of orders from 2019 to 2022, the number of people who made purchases rose from 2.4 million in 2019 to 9 million in 2022 and the average value of a Babylist registry increased by 56% since 2019.
“BuyBuy Baby has benefited from this characteristic of the industry, but its demise was a result of falling out of touch with an audience that is constantly evolving to be the next generation of parents,” Gordon said.
“We’ve been a successful and profitable business for over 10 years, so it’s important to note that we’ve been steadily taking market share for a decade from BuyBuy Baby and others so however the bankruptcy shakes out, we’ll still be the leader,” Gordon said.