Bed Bath & Beyond to close stores following bankruptcy filing

Fariha Alam

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. began to close locations nationwide after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 23.

A home goods retailer known for its wide range of products, Bed Bath & Beyond said in a press release it will maintain operations at brick-and-mortar locations and its website, but it began closing 360 stores as well as 120 Buy Buy Baby locations. The latter, which sells items for infants and children, is a subsidiary of the company.

The retail chain stopped accepting coupons on April 26, adding that all sales are final. Consumers may use gift cards for the business through May 8.

Sixth Street Specialty Lending Inc. provided $240 million in debtor-in-possession financing to the company, according to a press release. Bed Bath & Beyond indicated in its court filings that it will close all of its stores if the chain is not rescued by a buyer.     

Bed Bath & Beyond was founded as “Bed ‘n Bath” in 1971 in Springfield, New Jersey. It has since grown beyond the town shop to become a prominent retail chain with over 1,500 stores across North America

The company is known for its selection of household items, including bedding, bath towels, kitchenware and home decor. Aside from Buy Buy Baby, the company previously owned the specialty retailer chain Christmas Tree Shops, the import retail chain Cost Plus and the discount beauty retail chain Harmon Face Values.

“Millions of customers have trusted us through the most important milestones in their lives — from going to college to getting married, settling into a new phone to having a baby,” Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Sue Gove said in a press release.

The decision to file for bankruptcy comes after years of struggling to adapt to changing consumer habits and intense competition from online retailers. Bed Bath & Beyond faced challenges in recent years, including shake-ups in leadership, issues with its supply chain and a series of failed turnaround attempts.

In its fourth-quarter report for the 2022 fiscal year, which occurs during the holiday shopping season, the company said that while its net sales were worth $1.2 billion, its sales fell between 40% and 50% from the same period for the 2021 fiscal year. Similarly, the preceding quarter reported a 32% decline in sales in comparison with the same period the previous year.

The company reportedly borrowed $1.13 billion from banks and $375 million from Sixth Street in September 2022. It also established a $1 billion financing deal with the hedge fund Hudson Bay Capital Management in February, but the agreement ended the following month and sought $300 million from investors.

Additionally, Bed Bath & Beyond cited in its bankruptcy filing “the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” as a contributing factor to its financial struggles as it temporarily closed brick-and-mortar stores to comply with local mandates and protect employees and customers.

The pandemic also resulted in trade restrictions that disrupted the company’s supply chain, according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In an attempt to improve its business, Bed Bath & Beyond has made several changes in recent years. It closed underperforming stores, hired new leadership and invested in online sales channels.

The company launched a new membership program, called “Beyond+.” For a $29 annual fee, customers could access a range of benefits, including free shipping and 20% off on all purchases.

Grove, who was a chair of the board of directors’ strategy committee, replaced then-CEO Mark Tritton in June 2022. Members of the board hoped that she would steer the company in a positive direction.

The company also closed all but one of its stores in Manhattan in February as part of a nationwide effort to shut down 150 locations and avoid bankruptcy.

“Bed Bath and Beyond has finally succumbed to the fact its business is broken and filed for bankruptcy,” Neil Saunders, the managing director of the data analytics and consulting company GlobalData PLC, told CNBC.

Although Bed Bath & Beyond no longer allows customers to redeem its coupons, other retail chains offered to accept them. Big Lots Inc. accepted coupons through May 7. The Container Store, which has a location in the Flatiron District, will offer 20% off for individual items to customers with a coupon through May 31.

“We deeply appreciate our associates, customers, partners, and the communities we serve, and we remain steadfastly determined to serve them throughout this process,” Grove said in a press release. “We will continue working diligently to maximize value for the benefit of all stakeholders.”