Mark Tritton, president and CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, declared during the company’s recent digital annual meeting that changes in leadership, assortment and cost structure would address the key challenges the company faces from rivals, changing consumer behavior and economic dynamics, including inflation.
On inflation, Tritton said, “We like everyone else are tracking inflation. We are in the most recent month seeing inflation come into play. We’re reading about it in the media. We’re starting to have some conversations with our vendors. It doesn’t affect our mid-term inventory. But we’re looking at ways to mitigate that.”
Tritton said its transformation of cost structure is one way Bed Bath & Beyond has been able to address inflation and “effectively mitigate any cost increases in product.”
Tritton said Bed Bath & Beyond officially launched a three-year transformational plan in March, with the goal of creating sustainable long-term growth. To drive that growth, he said, Bed Bath & Beyond will introduce new and unique digital services with supply-chain upgrades to support them; remodel 450 namesake stores while closing 200 underperforming locations, and revise assortment with an “inspirational” merchandising lineup including owned brands that create differentiation. The company also will invest in driving buybuy Baby and Harmon operations, the CEO added.
Tritton said changes in the executive suite –the latest being the appointment of John Barresi to the newly created svp/finance, chief accounting officer position; the promotion of Laura Crossen to svp/treasury, tax and finance transformation; the appointment of Susie Kim to vp/investor relations; and the appointment of Lisa Adinolfi as vp/controls, audit and risk services – boosted Bed Bath & Beyond’s ability to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing consequences while initiating institutional change.
“During last year, we established an entirely new leadership team with world-class retail and digital experience who helped design and shape the growth strategy that will define our future,” Tritton said during the online annual meeting. “Our team acted with agility to address the changing needs of our customers and significantly advanced our integrated omnichannel strategy, driving digital more than 80% and surpassing $3 billion in digital sales.
“We delivered three consecutive quarters of comparable sales growth following four years of decline while pivoting to sustain adjusted gross margin and EBITDA expansion,” Tritton continued. “Further, we ended the year in a much stronger financial position than when we started through diligent and agile cash management, expense control as well as streamlining our portfolio and unlocking capital from non-core asset sales. Taken together we reduced gross debt by approximately $1 billion and ended the year with a total liquidity position of $2.1 billion.”
More detail about Bed Bath & Beyond’s performance against its goals and initiatives — including moves to advance the company’s social, community and sustainability causes — are expected to emerge in its first-quarter conference call set for June 30.