Bed, Bath & Beyond feels the heat

The retailer makes a CEO change as sales tumble and negative publicity mounts.
a sign on the side of a building

Bed Bath & Beyond has ousted CEO and board member Mark Tritton.

The retailer announced this morning that Tritton has left the company and the board of directors, effective immediately. 

Sue Gove, an independent director on the company's board of directors and chair of the board's strategy committee, has been named interim CEO.

The leadership change follows Bed, Bath & Beyond’s latest financial report, also released this morning, which revealed first quarter sales dropped 25% to $1.46 billion from first quarter 2021 sales of $1.95 billion. 

Bed, Bath, & Beyond also reported comp sales declined 23% for the quarter as the retailer posted a net loss of $358 million. The company reported a net loss of $51 million in the first quarter last year.

"After thorough consideration, the board determined that it was time for a change in leadership,” said Harriet Edelman, independent chair of the Bed Bath & Beyond Board of Directors. “Our banner's heritage is built on the premise that when customers are shopping for the home, Bed Bath & Beyond is the perfect destination for unique solutions and inspiration. We must deliver that proposition for customers, drive growth, and unlock the value of the banners.”

In-store comp sales fell 24% in the first quarter while e-commerce comp sales declined 21%. Comp sales at Bed, Bath & Beyond bannered stores decreased 27%.

But along with declining sales, Bed, Bath & Beyond has felt the heat of negative publicity, literally. 

Recent reports have surfaced that Bed, Bath & Beyond has been turning off the air conditioning in stores during summer hours to save on spending. 

The news followed visits by Bank of America analysts to multiple Bed, Bath & Beyond stores who then shared their findings with The New York Post. The retailer has denied the claim.

Analysts have also pointed to Bed, Bath & Beyond closing locations as a troubling sign for the retailer's future.

As of May 28, the company operated 955 stores in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Canada. Bed, Bath & Beyond operated 995 stores as of Nov. 27, 2001.

“We must deliver improved results. Our shareholders, Associates, customers, and partners all expect more,” Gove said. “We are committed to providing customers with a one-stop destination to meet their needs through our assortment, experience, and services, whether online or in stores.”

The company also announced that it has named Mara Sirhal as executive vice president and Chief Merchandising Officer. Sirhal most recently served as Bed Bath & Beyond's senior vice president and general manager for Harmon, as well as general merchandise manager of health, beauty, and consumables.

Sirhal replaces Joe Hartsig who has also left the company. Hartsig joined the retailer in March 2020 following his role as senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at Walgreens.

Now, Gove says she is looking to turn things around at Bed, Bath & Beyond and prevent the ship from sinking.

The interim CEO  has more than 30 years of retail experience, serving in a variety of senior financial, operating, and strategic roles including president and CEO of Golfsmith International Holdings and chief operating officer of Zale Corporation. Gove is also the president of Excelsior Advisors, LLC, a retail consulting and advisory firm.

“I'm eager to start working more closely with our leaders and our Associates across all banners to make the necessary strategy adjustments and create a brighter future for Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.,” the interim CEO said.