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Bed, Bath & Beyond CEO Issues Mea Culpa

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"Let me be clear..." 

From a foretelling standpoint, they are not the best words to hear from a CEO on a conference call, in an investor letter, or frankly much anywhere else.

But they were the precise words used by Bed, Bath & Beyond  (BBBY)  CEO Mark Tritton to not only fess up to a tougher-than-expected holiday shopping season, but also to tee up why his company pulled back its earning guidance for the remainder of its fiscal year.

"Let me be clear, these results are unsatisfactory and underscore the imperative for change and strengthen our sense of priorities and purpose," Bed, Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton told investors on a conference call.

"We must respond to the challenges we face as a business, including pressured sales and profitability and reconstruct a modern durable model for long-term profitable growth."

Bed Bath & Beyond posted a loss of 31 cents a share for the three months ended Nov. 30, the company’s fiscal third quarter, well shy of Wall Street consensus forecasts of a 3-cent profit. Revenue fell 9% to $2.8 billion, below analysts' forecast of $2.86 billion.

Same store sales, a key metric among all brick-and-mortar retailers, tumbled 8.3%, affected not only by one fewer week this year compared to 2018 but also by the fact that the company’s Cyber Monday sales will be booked in the fourth quarter, Tritton said.

Nonetheless, Bed, Bath & Beyond continues to focus on doing what all companies need to to: cut costs, streamline operations, refine product offerings and boost traffic coming through its doors - and to its website.

"A path to achieving our objective will not be linear as evidenced by our third quarter results, but we will move quickly to course correct and drive the business forward," Tritton said.

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