If what’s being sold is an indication of what’s important in the market today, then Bed Bath & Beyond can help us with recent trend development. In the past two weeks sales of bread making machines, vacuum cleaners, and coffee grounds are what the new trends are about. At Bed Bath & Beyond, bread machines are up 400%, vacuums are up 100% and enough coffee grounds in pods and beans have been sold to make 10 million cups of coffee. Guess that means that while the fresh bread is baking in the oven, folks are sipping on their coffee and vacuuming their carpet. Sales have not been bad when you consider other companies are struggling to have anything in sales at all since their shops are closed.
Bed Bath & Beyond Tough Decisions
Bed Bath & Beyond did have to do some major juggling to keep afloat when the shutdown that impacted the nation first happened following the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic. Among the crucial decisions they needed to make was the move to furlough some of its employees and close some of their stores when the pandemic first started. Bed Bath and Beyond said at first that the furlough would need to last until May 2.
However, as of late April, Bed Bath & Beyond has already had to call back hundreds of their employees to staff 25% of the stores that were converted to fulfillment stores to meet the order demands from online customers purchases. Many of the stores also have pick up locations for easy contactless curbside pick-up service.
The furlough, for those still remaining on it, has been extended until May 16. Bed Bath & Beyond is paying 100% of healthcare premiums for employees enrolled in such programs until further notice. There is also a temporary continuance of pay cuts of 30% to executives.
Sales Rise on Price Slashing
Decisions at the corporate level to allow for some price slashing is keeping customers coming in droves (up to 85% increase in online sales). Many items available on the Bed Bath & Beyond website are 50 to 75% off and when you log on you are offered a 20% coupon for signing in.
New Players, Plans and Growth
The team at the top is relatively new, but experienced. Mark J. Tritton, Chief Executive Officer of Bed Bath & Beyond was previously with Target, Nordstrom and Nike. Stock market prices rose 11% after he was brought on board in October of 2019. He is handpicking his team and is looking for new leaders that will bring fresh perspectives and that are new innovators for change.
John Hartmann is the new Chief Operating Officer of Bed Bath & Beyond. He was previously with True Value and has also been with Home Depot, Cardinal Health, and the FBI.
They are making tough decisions to keep the company in a favorable and fluid position to outlast the coronavirus situation. Stocks rose 32% as of mid-April. Comparisons to any time before that is like comparing watermelons to cherries. We are in unprecedented times and any progress is worthy of note.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s decision to proceed with the online sales market has proven to be successful, as has the decision to convert some of their stores to fulfillment centers. The decision to turn stores into fulfillment stores doubles the retailers digital order capacity, making it more competitive in the online market.
Cramer previews earnings reports for the trading week of April 27
Mark J. Tritton Future Plans
Tritton says by the end of the year he wants to concentrate on getting the stores in cleaner conditions and to give them a more stream-lined look by creating wider aisles and move up delivery times for online processing and deliveries. He also wants to have more private brands available in the store. Bed Bath & Beyond also plans on creating hundreds of new e-commerce type positions in distribution centers in the United States and Canada in the future.
To do the above, Tritton told the Wall Street Journal during an interview that Bed Bath & Beyond plans to invest in upgrades, tech initiatives, and improvements in the supply chain that are expected to cost up to $400M. He gathered the funds by selling off some assets when first coming on board as the CEO of the company.