The sun has set on another day of craziness for the retail business known as Bed Bath & Beyond. Once one of the more staple, highly respected and successful retailers in the country, lately the Big Box home furnishings chain has been experiencing as wild a ride as we’ve seen in a very long time.
Wednesday morning the company issued its awaited – and latest – turnaround plan that addresses financial, operational, merchandising and structural issues with the intent of keeping Bed Bath on solid footing…and out of bankruptcy court. It’s anyone’s guess whether that will happen given the twists and turns the retailer has taken over the past four years. It sure is fascinating to watch – at least from the outside – however.
In advance of these announcements, this reporter – who has followed Bed Bath for more than 30 years and may be as well versed in its strengths and weaknesses as perhaps any outsider – offered up five predictions on what would be released as part of the new strategy. It didn’t cover all aspects of the situation, but touched on what were considered the key ones.
How did I do? Let’s see how good – or bad – I was on my educated guesses. For purposes of this exercise I’m going to score on a scale of one to ten, with two points for each correct answer, partial points for those that were only somewhat right and no points for wrong or idiotic answers.
You tell me:
1. New Financing
This is the gimme in the group, everyone knew they would be announcing new financing. But I said it would be more than the $375 million most people had speculated about. I was right. It’s over $500 million in additional funding, giving BBB just over $1 billion in liquidity.
2 Points for correct answer
I said they wouldn’t sell it outright as they needed it for growth and perhaps also as collateral for some of those loans. That was true. I speculated that they might choose to spin it off while retaining controlling interest in the unit. That was wrong.
1 Point for partial correct answer
I said they would put the CEO search on the back burner and we shouldn’t expect any new arrival anytime soon. That was correct. I thought they could remove the interim part of president Sue Gove’s title. That was wrong, but they did essentially do that with chief merchant Mara Sirhal and BuyBuyBaby’s Patty Wu, giving them both permanent promotions.
1-1/2 Points for mostly correct answer
4. Store Closings
I said they would close 150 Bed Bath stores and if I do say so myself, I NAILED IT. I speculated they might close their beauty stores or sell off Mexico which didn’t happen but I’m taking the full point value for hitting the store closing numbers exactly. So there.
5. Sale, Sale, Sale
I said they needed a big marketing campaign for the fall and I said it should include TV and maybe print and radio too. Well, they did announce they would be launching a new campaign called Welcome Home, Welcome Back but did not provide details over what it would entail. Pretty sure it won’t include Snoop Dogg as I had hoped and it will probably be more warm-and-fuzzy than Crazy Eddie but still it’s a new marketing approach and that’s what I predicted.
1-1/2 Points for getting the gist of it right
Final score: 8 out of 10, batting 800 and getting a whole lot more right than some of the other so-called experts out there. OK, I will dial it back and not let my head get too big over all of this yet you’ve got to admit this is pretty impressive.
If only they had asked me, it would have saved a whole lot of drama and effort…don’t you think?