Bed Bath & Beyond had been on the decline for years, both in terms of sales and market share, which an activist investor group blamed largely on the missteps of longtime CEO Steven Temares.
The group, which included Legion Partners, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors, called out the former CEO as overseeing the “destruction of more than $8 billion in market value” during his 15 years leading the company and said that between early 2015 and 2019, the company’s stock had lost more than 80% of its value.
Change needed to occur and time was running out if a turnaround — likely to determine Bed Bath & Beyond’s future as a retailer — were to happen. The group nominated 16 independent candidates for election to the retailer’s board, which would effectively overturn its entire 12-person team.
Bed Bath & Beyond, in turn, announced the transformation of its board of directors, which would consist of 10 members, rather than 12, with co-founders Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein notably retiring from the board. However, that proved “not nearly enough” for the investor group.
The group called for the resignation of Temares, and in May 2019 he stepped down as CEO. After five months of searching for a permanent chief, Mark Tritton stepped into the role, tasked with a turnaround Bed Bath & Beyond was dependent on.
The former chief merchant at Target helped architect a model at that retailer that ensured profitable growth and long-term customer relevancy. Tritton also oversaw the launch of more than 30 private labels at the mass merchant — an area the investor group previously criticized Bed Bath & Beyond for lacking in, and something that may be needed to differentiate itself from others in the space.
Tritton got to work, and in less than a year, he’s gutted his C-suite, reduced the workforce and closed stores, among other things. Here’s a look back at what the retailer has been up to in the past year with Tritton at the helm.
Mark Tritton’s first year leading Bed Bath & Beyond
October 2, 2019
Interim CEO Mary Winston tells analysts the company intends to close 60 stores by year’s end, up from 40. At the same time, the company’s net sales fall 7.3% to $2.7 billion in the second quarter, while same-store sales fall 6.7%, the 10th consecutive quarter of declines in that measure.
October 9, 2019
Five months after Steven Temares was ousted as CEO, Mark Tritton is named his successor. Tritton joins the company from Target where he served as chief merchandising officer, and brings with him experience in private label — something Bed Bath & Beyond had relatively little penetration in at the time.
November 4, 2019
Mark Tritton begins his tenure as CEO.
December 17, 2019
The company announces six senior-level executives would be leaving the company: the chief merchandising officer, chief marketing officer, chief digital officer, chief legal officer and general counsel, chief administrative officer and chief brand officer. Tritton calls the move “the first in a number of important steps we’re taking” to turn the company around.
January 6, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond announces a deal with private equity firm Oak Street Real Estate Capital to sell 2.1 million square feet of its real estate, which it expects will generate some $250 million. The funds from the deal — which includes the sale of commercial assets like retail stores, a distribution center and office space — will go toward investing in the company’s transformation efforts, funding share repurchases and reducing debt.
January 8, 2020
While reporting a third quarter net sales decline of 9% and a comparable sales decline of 8.3%, the company says it will delay plans to close 20 Bed Bath & Beyond stores it had previously said would shutter by the end of the fiscal year to help with an inventory reduction initiative.
February 11, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond warns investors of more trouble ahead as it posts preliminary fourth quarter results, including December and January sales, where comps fell some 5.4% driven by an 11% store comp decline.
February 18, 2020
Perhaps the biggest step forward in its turnaround, the retailer lays out a $1 billion capital allocation strategy, which includes about $600 million toward stock buybacks and debt reduction, and $400 million in store remodels, supply chain improvements and digital projects.
February 27, 2020
The retailer slashes some 500 jobs — about 10% of its corporate workforce — which it expects will reduce annual selling, general and administrative expenses by about $85 million.
March 4, 2020
In the first of many C-level hires in 2020, the retailer brings on former Walgreens chief merchandising officer Joe Hartsig as its chief merchant and president of Harmon Stores. Hartsig is tasked with redirecting the company’s strategy around product and growing the Harmon banner.
March 23, 2020
The retailer temporarily shutters all of its stores — other than BuyBuy Baby and Harmon Face Values, which were deemed essential — as a result of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the U.S.
March 27, 2020
S&P Global downgrades the home goods retailer as it predicts a weak economy and pullback on consumer spending as a result of the pandemic.
April 2, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic keeps most of the retailer’s stores closed, Bed Bath & Beyond announces it will furlough the “majority” of its store associates, in addition to some corporate employees, until May 2. The retailer also announces it will cut executive salaries and compensation for the board of directors by 30% each.
April 15, 2020
The retailer tells analysts it has sold off its One Kings Lane banner, which it acquired in 2016, to CSC Generation.
April 21, 2020
The retailer appoints True Value CEO John Hartmann to chief operating officer and president of BuyBuy Baby.
April 30, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond replaces Chief Financial Officer Robyn D’Elia with Gustavo Arnal, who previously served as Avon’s CFO. That same day, the retailer names Rafeh Masood as chief digital officer, Gregg Melnick as chief stores officer and Arlene Hong as chief legal officer.
May 8, 2020
The retailer extends furloughs for the majority of its store associates and some corporate employees through at least May 30. Bed Bath & Beyond begins reopening stores, indicating that about 20 stores should open back up by May 22, subject to state and local regulations.
May 13, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond snaps up former L Brands exec Cindy Davis to serve as executive vice president and chief brand officer, as well as president of Decorist. She is tasked with leading the company’s marketing and communication across its banners and growing Decorist, the company’s digital interior design platform.
July 8, 2020
In a move to rightsize its footprint, Bed Bath & Beyond announces plans to shutter 200 stores over the next two years, primarily from its namesake banner, representing about 20% of that fleet. The retailer expects to generate up to $350 million in annualized savings from the store closures; lower supply chain costs; selling, general and administrative cost optimization; and more efficient pricing and promotions. The news comes as the retailer posts a nearly 50% decline in net sales during the quarter ended May 30.
The company also indicates nearly all of its stores are reopened after temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
August 3, 2020
After months of litigation, Bed Bath & Beyond closes a deal to sell its keepsake site PersonalizationMall.com to 1-800-Flowers for $245 million, less than the $252 million initially announced in February.
August 25, 2020
The retailer lays off approximately 2,800 employees — or 5% of its workforce — ranging from store-level to corporate workers. Bed Bath & Beyond anticipates annual pre-tax cost savings of $150 million from the move.
September 2, 2020
The company appoints Wade Haddad, formerly with Ascena Retail Group, as senior vice president of real estate and construction. Haddad is tasked with leading the store optimization strategy of Bed Bath & Beyond’s turnaround.
September 14, 2020
Juan Guerrero is appointed chief supply chain officer where he will be leading the company’s supply chain transformation, including by supporting strategic sourcing and the introduction of the company’s private labels, ensuring faster and more efficient delivery through in-store fulfillment and improving profitability through the supply chain.
September 23, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond fills its chief technology position with Scott Lindblom, who previously worked at Michaels, Ross and Best Buy. Lindblom will work to better the company’s digital omnichannel operations and improve customer experience.
September 29, 2020
Ahead of the all-important holiday season, the retailer inks partnerships with two same-day delivery partners, Shipt and Instacart, for its Bed Bath & Beyond and BuyBuy Baby stores.
October 1, 2020
Tritton’s work to turn around the company from a decade of missteps begins to bear fruit. While much of the industry has grappled with sales misses as a result of the pandemic, Bed Bath & Beyond is able to capitalize on consumers looking to outfit their homes as they hunker down. The retailer posts a 6% year-over-year comps increase — the first sales growth in that measure since 2016.Caroline Jansen/Retail Dive
October 13, 2020
Following months of pressure from investors, and speculation from analysts, the company sells off its Christmas Tree Shops banner to Handil Holdings. Handil will assume all 80 brick-and-mortar locations and a Massachusetts distribution center. Bed Bath & Beyond also announces the sale of a separate distribution center in New Jersey and its Linen Holdings business. The combination of the three asset sales is expected to generate some $250 million.
October 22, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond names Mary-Farrell Tarbox and Ann-Marie Clendenin as regional vice presidents of the Central and East regions, respectively. Together, the two will be responsible for some 550 stores across 34 states.
October 26, 2020
The retailer appoints Elizabeth Meltzer as senior vice president, general merchandising manager, effective Nov. 2. Meltzer, who joins Bed Bath & Beyond from Gap as its senior vice president of merchandising, also has experience at Loft, Madewell and Calvin Klein. She will be in charge of developing the company's assortment, which will include various private labels.
October 28, 2020
Bed Bath & Beyond during its first investor day unveils a three-year financial roadmap where it will invest up to $1.5 billion into its business. As part of the plan, the retailer will launch more than 10 private labels over the next 18 months, initiate store remodels and build on its “omni-always” approach, among other things.