The Long Goodbye for Bed Bath & Beyond Begins

Maybe it will be later tonight, maybe tomorrow morning or even next week. Whenever it happens, one thing is pretty certain at this point: Bed Bath & Beyond is going to file for bankruptcy.

To say it’s a retail (and in one sad instance, a personal) tragedy is only stating the obvious. Not all that long ago it was one of America’s best retailers and in an all-too-quick timeframe it has become a trainwreck, wildly going off the rails and crashing and burning.

By the time BBB files its third quarter financial results early Tuesday morning we are likely to know more details beyond the disastrous preliminary results it released last week. They showed dismal projected losses closing in on $400 million and comp sales continuing to decline by more than 25%. All you have to do is go into one of their stores and see the empty shelves, emptier aisles bereft of shoppers and solemn expressions on the faces of store employees worried about their jobs to know the situation is dire.

When Bed Bath does file, it will be a financial lifeline, giving it some working capital, a solution to its horrible balance sheet imbalance and some hope – albeit short term – that it can come out of chapter 11 and live to see another retail day.

And it likely will. Very few retail companies – Toys’R’Us is the most recent high-profile example – simply get liquidated and go away once they file bankruptcy. Many more – Tuesday Morning comes to mind – reorganize, get new management and come out with what at least appears to be a new strategy.

And it usually doesn’t work. The number of retailers that go through bankruptcy and went on to better things is incredibly short. And that’s the problem BBB faces: It may have far less debt, fewer bad store locations and a shiny new veneer but it still faces the fundamental problem of what kind of retailer does it need to be to be relevant for today’s shopper. If it doesn’t solve this none of the rest of it matters.

Those of us who have followed Bed Bath for decades – and the suppliers who have done business with them as well as the customers who have dutifully clipped their coupons and shopped there – have to be sad today. We will be sadder still when the company does eventually file for bankruptcy. There are so many reasons why this will happen and so many people to blame.

And so many people who could have done something to avoid it all.

The Long Goodbye for Bed Bath & Beyond

Maybe it will be later tonight, maybe tomorrow morning or even next week. Whenever it happens, one thing is pretty sure at this point: Bed Bath & Beyond is going to file for bankruptcy.

To say it’s a retail (and in one sad instance, a personal) tragedy is only stating the obvious. Not all that long ago it was one of America’s best retailers and in an all-too-quick timeframe it has become a trainwreck, wildly going off the rails and crashing and burning.

By the time BBB files its third quarter financial results early Tuesday morning we are likely to know more details beyond the disastrous preliminary results it released last week. They showed dismal projected losses closing in on $400 million and comp sales continuing to decline by more than 25%. All you have to do is go into one of their stores and see the empty shelves, emptier aisles bereft of shoppers and solemn expressions on the faces of store employees worried about their jobs to know the situation is dire.

When Bed Bath does file, it will be a financial lifeline, giving it some working capital, a solution to its horrible balance sheet imbalance and some hope – albeit short term – that it can come out of chapter 11 and live to see another retail day.

And it likely will. Very few retail companies – Toys’R’Us is the most recent high-profile example – simply get liquidated and go away once they file bankruptcy. Many more – Tuesday Morning comes to mind – reorganize, get new management and come out with what at least appears to be a new strategy.

And it usually doesn’t work. The number of retailers that went through bankruptcy and went on to better things is incredibly short. And that’s the problem BBB faces: It may have far less debt, fewer bad store locations and a shiny new veneer but it still faces the fundamental problem of what kind of retailer does it need to be to be relevant for today’s shopper. If it doesn’t solve this none of the rest of it matters.

Those of us who have followed Bed Bath for decades – and the suppliers who have done business with them as well as the customers who have dutifully clipped their coupons and shopped there – have to be sad today. We will be sadder still when the company does eventually file for bankruptcy. There are so many reasons why this will happen and so many people to blame.

And so many people who could have done something to avoid it all.

One comment

  1. I honestly hope they can turn this around.
    Always loved shopping in the Manhasset, NY location. They have two sales floors with a huge elevator that can fit three or four carts into it (plus customers), never had a problem finding exactly what I needed and some things I didn’t.

    Like

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