Bed Bath & Beyond will shrink its store count by 200 as the home specialty retailer going forward trims its brick-and-mortar footprint while simultaneously ramping up its digital operations and other special services.
Specifics on which locations will be closed were not available, but the past few months have given the retailer and its new management team a unique opportunity to engage with shoppers via its digital channels.
Bed Bath & Beyond officials noted that during the first quarter of 2020, sales from digital channels grew 82%, representing nearly two-thirds of total net sales.
As the COVID-19 pandemic led to government-mandated store closures across the country, the retailer had increased digital engagement with customers and sold products to a number of first-time shoppers.
“Nearly 40% of our online orders were placed by customers who were new to ordering online with us and more than 10% of them were also completely new to Bed Bath & Beyond,” said Mark Tritton, president & CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Additionally, company officials noted that many of the new customers are younger in profile. Developing them into loyal shoppers will be key for Bed Bath & Beyond going forward.
Although the company historically has struggled with its online operations, expanding and sharpening its e-commerce offering has been a focus of Tritton and his management team in recent months.
That said, stores remain a vital component of the company’s business across all its brands. As of May 30, 2020, Bed Bath & Beyond corporate operated 1,478 stores that included:
- 955 Bed Bath & Beyond stores
- 262 World Market/Cost Plus World Market or Cost Plus stores
- 127 buybuy BABY stores
- 81 Christmas Tree Shops, Christmas Tree Shops andThat! or andThat! stores.
John Hartman, chief operating office and president of buybuy BABY, said the company continues to believe that its physical store channel is an asset as Bed Bath transforms into a digital-first company. The stores will be of particular importance with its new omni-fulfillment capabilities such as Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) and Curbside.
“Our immediate goal is to right-size our store network in such a way that reduces redundant stores and supports a digital-first platform, with the appropriate number of stores in the right locations, to serve customer demand and accelerate growth,” he said.