J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers noted that on a recent store visit he saw a Cost Plus World Market store-within-a-store concept inside Bed Bath & Beyond.
This test is currently being performed in only a handful of stores, but could signal Bed Bath & Beyond is considering purchasing Cost Plus."In recent years, Bed Bath & Beyond has increased it exposure to the specialty foods category, and now it appears the company is outsourcing some of its learnings," Horvers wrote in a note. This wouldn't be the first time Bed Bath & Beyond used an acquisition to develop its business. In March 2002 it acquired health and beauty retailer, Harmon, opening a store-within-a-store concept in most of its core locations. Then in June 2003, Bed Bath & Beyond purchased Christmas Tree Shops, which Horvers said was critical in helping the company's direct sourcing capabilities. "The similarities of these acquisitions are that both Harmon's and Christmas Tree Shops were designed to first improve the core and drive the Bed Bath stores' sales productivity," he wrote. Bed Bath & Beyond has more than $1 billion in cash and no debt, making it very capable of purchasing Cost Plus, which has a market cap of $210 million.