Bed Bath & Beyond banks on private brands
When Mark Tritton left Target to take over as CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond last November, he joined a company with a lot of challenges, including losing its point of difference in a world of competitors competing in the same space. His new company had easily identifiable weaknesses. Bed Bath & Beyond offered an undifferentiated shopping experience and relied on coupons that had trained regular customers to only make purchases when a discount was included.
Mr. Tritton set immediate priorities for changing Bed Bath & Beyond’s fortunes such as improving its omnichannel experience, aligning its assets with its cost structure and “enhancing” its merchandise assortment.
On the first point, Mr. Tritton recently pointed to positive signs for the chain’s “omni-always shopping experience” — strong online sales in the first quarter and Bed Bath & Beyond’s expansion of its buy online and pickup in-store and curbside pickup options.
The retailer has taken a number of steps to get its financial house in order. It has negotiated a new, three-year revolving credit facility, closed unprofitable stores and made changes to its purchasing and supply chain structure to drive out costs and improve efficiencies. This last element is a focus of the retailer’s plan to support sales margins.
On the merchandising assortment front, Mr. Tritton appears to be following a similar approach to the one he successfully led at Target with an emphasis on the development of a portfolio of popular private brands.
Yesterday, Bed Bath & Beyond announced the appointment of Neil Lick as SVP, owned brands. Mr. Lick, who spent 22 years at Williams Sonoma, brings a wealth of experience to the new position. At Sonoma, he served in a variety of leadership positions in merchandising, product development, inventory management and as the head of corporate responsibility.
Mr. Lick will lead Bed Bath & Beyond’s newly created owned brand team in his new role. The chain has said it plans to begin introducing differentiated new brands in key home categories including bath, bed and kitchen next year and expand its portfolio over time.
“Finding new ways to help customers feel at home couldn’t be more relevant or exciting in the current (pandemic) context,” said Mr. Lick. “I look forward to playing my part in rebuilding Bed Bath & Beyond’s authority with customer inspired brands that are truly differentiating.”
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Appoints Williams-Sonoma Veteran Neil Lick To Lead New Owned Brands Team – Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Reports Results For Fiscal 2020 First Quarter – Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
- Can Target’s chief merchandising officer turn Bed Bath & Beyond around? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does the current consumer mindset mean for retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond? How big of an effect can new private brands have on Bed Bath & Beyond’s ability to differentiate itself and drive sales and improved margins?