Bed Bath & Beyond shares dropped more than 24% on Jan. 5, bringing the struggling retailer’s share price down 86% year-over-year, after the company reported that it was having trouble getting enough merchandise to fill its shelves while also bringing in fewer customers. Additionally, Bed Bath & Beyond noted that it wasn’t able to refinance a portion of its debt and warned in an SEC filing that it is exploring all possibilities to “mitigate any potential liquidity shortfall,” including bankruptcy.
“The Company continues to consider all strategic alternatives including restructuring or refinancing its debt, seeking additional debt or equity capital, reducing or delaying the Company’s business activities and strategic initiatives, or selling assets, other strategic transactions and/or other measures, including obtaining relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code,” said Bed Bath & Beyond in the filing. “These measures may not be successful.”
The company expects sales for its Q3 2022, which ended Nov. 26, to reach approximately $1.3 billion — down significantly from the $1.9 billion generated in Q3 2021. This decline will compound the 28% sales drop that the retailer reported for Q2 2022. The result would be a net loss of $385.8 million, which is 40% larger year-over-year.
CEO Sue Gove blamed the difficulties on “micro- and macro- economic challenges” as well as reduced credit levels, which harmed in-stock levels. However, Bed Bath & Beyond will use the improved liquidity created by the holiday rush to improve inventory levels as it works to bring shoppers back.
“Strengthening our ability to serve our customers will continue to drive our decision-making,” said Gove in a statement. “We are resetting foundational elements to create a stronger and more nimble infrastructure that aligns closely with customer demand and preference. We continue to manage our financial position amidst a changing landscape and work with expert advisors as we consider all paths and strategic alternatives to accomplish our short- and long-term goals. We look forward to providing an update on these fronts on our formal third quarter earnings call next week.”
Bed Bath & Beyond’s turnaround efforts have been hampered, in part, by executive turmoil. Former CEO Mark Tritton left the company in March 2022 following a 25% sales drop, with Gove taking on leadership on an interim basis before becoming permanent CEO in October. Additionally, former CFO Gustavo Arnal died in September in what has been ruled as a suicide, and former EVP and Chief Customer and Technology Officer Rafeh Masood resigned in December in the wake of a data breach, though the company noted that his departure “was not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices or financial statements.”
The retailer also has been staving off challenges from activist investors who have sought actions including the sale of buybuy BABY. An August 2022 share drop occurred when Ryan Cohen, who owns approximately 11.8% of the retailer, revealed that he was planning to sell his stake in the company.
Even if Bed Bath & Beyond survives the current turmoil, the retailer may end up in a diminished state. Its turnaround efforts have included cutting 20% of its workforce and closing 150 stores to reduce its SG&A (selling, general and administrative) expenses by $250 million in fiscal 2022. The retailer also has cut capital expenditure plans down to approximately $250 million from its original $400 million budget for the period.