Challenges continue for home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond. CEO and board member Mark Tritton is leaving, a move that coincided with the release of quarterly earnings showing a 25% decline in sales, from $1.95 billion in Q1 2021 to $1.46 billion in Q2 2022, which ended May 28, 2022. Sue Gove, an Independent Director on the BB&B Board of Directors and Chair of the board’s strategy committee, will serve as Interim CEO, focusing on supply chain and inventory and fortifying the company’s financial standing.
“I step into this role keenly aware of the macroeconomic environment,” said Gove in a statement, citing shifting consumer demands and inflation challenges. “The simple reality though is that our first quarter’s results are not up to our expectations, nor are they reflective of the company’s true potential. The initiatives we are instituting today are just the first steps in putting our business on firm footing to drive our future success. I look forward to working with the board, the management team and our associates to immediately address our supply chain challenges, market share recapture, inventory and cash optimization, and cost structure alignment.”
Comparable sales for the company as a whole declined 24% in Q1, while online sales dropped 21%. The Bed Bath & Beyond banner’s comp sales dropped 27%, while the buybuy BABY banner declined by mid-single digits.
BB&B has experienced pressure from activist investors including RC Ventures, the venture capital fund of Ryan Cohen, Co-founder of Chewy and Chairman of GameStop. Using its 9.8% stake in BB&B, RC Ventures has urged the retailer to sell the buybuy BABY banner, saying the baby products retailer would be more valuable as a standalone business.
Tritton is not the first BB&B CEO to face shareholder impatience with the company’s performance. In fact, Tritton joined BB&B as President and CEO in November 2019 from Target following activist investor pressure to oust former BB&B CEO Steven Temares.
Additional leadership changes include the departure of Joe Hartsig, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer. Mara Sirhal, former SVP and General Manager for Harmon, and General Merchandise Manager of Health, Beauty & Consumables will replace Hartsig. In this role, Sirhal will report to Gove and lead the company’s omnichannel merchandising, planning and owned brands strategies, while also retaining her position as general manager for the Harmon retail banner.