The pandemic’s economic fallout continues to be felt among the nation’s retailers. On the heels of Brooks Brothers’ filing for bankruptcy protection, Bed Bath & Beyond said it will close 200 more stores.
The announcement came late Wednesday as the home goods retailer announced that its sales plunged 48 percent amidst the pandemic. The sales numbers would have been much worse if not for the company’s ecommerce sales.
Bed Bath & Beyond reported that online sales nearly doubled as it benefited from consumers’ spending binge on cleaning supplies and home decor items. Still, it wasn’t enough to make up for the loss of business in its stores that were forced to close. It reported a loss of $1.96 a share in the just-completed quarter.
‘Number of stores dragging us down’
To get back on a more solid financial footing, the company said it would permanently close 200 of its stores between now and the end of the year. As of the beginning of June, it operated 955 Bed Bath & Beyond stores. It also owns the Buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops, and Harmon Face Values chains.
“We saw there were a number of stores dragging us down,” CEO Mark Tritton told CNBC. “We will continue to look at the rest of our concept doors, now that we have established the data criteria.”
Even before the pandemic slammed the economy, Bed Bath & Beyond saw signs of trouble on the horizon. In April of last year, the company announced it would close 40 stores during 2019 while opening 15 new locations.
Before that, the company initiated 21 “next generation lab stores” in 2018, in which it tested what it called “new and different assortments and visual merchandising to reimagine the in-store experience."
The company says it sees reason for optimism as it reduces its footprint. In reporting its earnings Wednesday, company executives told analysts that its stores have performed better than expected during the reopening period after the pandemic shutdown.
After all, consumers confined to their homes for two and a half months probably noticed a lot of home decor items in need of an upgrade.