New CEO Cleans House At Bed Bath & Beyond

Maybe it should be called Bloodbath & Beyond. In his most visible move since joining the struggling Bed Bath & Beyond last month, new CEO and President Mark Tritton redecorated the executive suite, showing five C-level executives the door.

Among those departing are its chief marketing officer, chief merchandising officer and chief digital officer, while the chief brand officer resigned last week.

The move sparked a rally in the company’s stock, fanning hopes that Tritton -- a seasoned retail exec who has worked at Target, Nordstrom and Nike -- has a plan that will get the company back on track.

In making the announcement, the Union, N.J.-based company describes the purge as “an extensive restructuring” in advance of Tritton’s plan for the company, scheduled for an announcement early next month.



"This is the first in a number of important steps we're taking,” Tritton says in the release. “Balancing our existing expertise with fresh perspectives from new, innovative leaders of change will help us to better anticipate and support our customers in their life journeys and shopping needs."

He says temporary leads are in place and that the company is actively recruiting replacements, including someone to fill the newly combined chief marketing and brand officer position.

The goal is to reestablish the chain’s “authority in the home space through a more customer-focused, omnichannel retail operation, a redefined product assortment, and a more convenient and inspirational shopping experience.”

Observers are optimistic. “We expect signs of improving fundamentals to persist,” writes Seth Basham, who follows the company for Wedbush Securities. “We would not be surprised to hear Mr. Tritton point to hundreds of millions of dollars of cost savings opportunities…but as importantly, we will focus on his ideas for reinvigorating traffic.”

Basham also anticipates stronger quarterly results, driven by stepped-up and more creative advertising, as well as more promotional activity.

Bed Bath & Beyond, which also owns Buy Buy Baby and the Christmas Tree Shops, has about 1,500 stores. In October, in quarterly results reported just before Tritton signed on, the company said sales fell 7.3% to $2.7 billion, and dropped 6.7% on a same-store basis, posting a net loss of $138.8 million.

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