Commentary

Bed, Bath & Beyond Snatches Target's Tritton As CEO

Bed, Bath & Beyond yesterday named Target’s highly touted chief merchandising officer, Mark Tritton, to be its new CEO. The faltering retailer has been overhauling  its operations under pressure from activist investors. Steven Temares  stepped down  after 16 years as CEO in May.

advertisement

advertisement

“The stock rose $2.40, or 24%, to $12.34 in after-hours action,” Tom Bemis reports for The Street. “Its shares have fallen more than 80% since peaking above $80 six years ago.”

“Tritton succeeds interim CEO Mary Winston. She has been in that role since May and will continue to serve on the board once Tritton takes over. His first order of business at Bed Bath & Beyond will be to improve the in-store and online shopping experiences for customers as well as widen the company’s merchandise assortment,” Sarah Whitten writes  for CNBC.

“Tritton’s appointment comes just a week after Bed Bath & Beyond announced that it would shutter 60 stores by the end of 2019, more than the 40 locations it had previously estimated. It also posted mixed second-quarter earnings and its 10th straight quarter of same-store sales declines,” Whitten adds.

“Triton becomes only the third CEO -- and the first outsider -- in the company’s nearly 50-year history, and he comes into an organization steeped in inbred management and a fair degree of dysfunction as it has failed to keep up with the enormous changes the retail industry has faced over the past 10 years. It is generally considered to be overstored, underdeveloped in its e-commerce business, distracted by marginal banners acquired over the years and well behind the curve in merchandising efficiencies, particularly in sourcing and supply-chain management,” Warren Shoulberg writes for Forbes.

“It adds up to a huge turnaround Tritton will be asked to manage. His résumé suggests he could be the right person for the job,” he adds.

“Tritton came to Target from Nordstrom after CEO Brian Cornell spent more than a year searching for a new chief merchandising officer. The chief-merchant role is typically the No. 2 role at a retailer and has special prominence at Target, which is known for its cheap-chic offerings,” writes Kavita Kumar for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“At the time of Tritton’s hiring, many retail analysts felt Target had lost its flair, and its sales were beginning to droop. Under his leadership, Target has launched more than two dozen new private-label brands in the past two years, replacing many of its older longtime brands…,” Kumar continues. “Tritton also helped draw in outside brands such as Hunter boots, Vineyard Vines and Victoria Beckham to collaborate with Target on its hallmark limited-time design partnerships.”

Tritton, who has also held executive positions at Timberland and Nike, is a graduate of The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

"Target said two existing executives will take over Mr. Tritton’s duties on an interim basis and report directly to CEO Brian Cornell. The company said it isn’t conducting an external search for a new merchandising chief,”  Sarah Nassauer writes  for The Wall Street Journal.

Tritton “has end-to-end retail industry experience in merchandising, design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution at some of the world's leading iconic retailers and brands,” according to the new release announcing his appointment.

“Mark's ability to re-define the retail experience and drive growth at some of the world's most successful retailers and brands makes him uniquely equipped to lead Bed Bath & Beyond during this critical time in our evolution,” states BB&B’s chairman Patrick R. Gaston. 

Meanwhile, the Asbury Park Press’ David P. Willis takes a look at a Bed, Bath & Beyond with a remodeled facade at the Brick Center Plaza that’s part of the retailer’s “Next Generation Store initiative.”

The ongoing changes inside the store “augment the store's products, adding seasonal and ‘treasure-hunt’ items, which are available in a limited supply, as well as other products around health and beauty care and food,” a spokeswoman tells Willis in an email.

"We have also been testing different visual merchandising presentations to create a more inspirational shopping environment while at the same time reducing inventory to optimize floor space and to create a cleaner and more open appearance," the spokeswoman says.  “Our focus on putting the customer at the center of our transformation, supported by data and insights, is intended to restore Bed Bath & Beyond to its iconic status and improve the company’s competitive position.”

Tritton, who is also joining the board of directors, will lead the charge starting Nov. 4.

Next story loading loading..