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Bed Bath & Beyond, described as a 'US institution', files for bankruptcy protection

Bed Bath & Beyond, described as a 'US institution', files for bankruptcy protection

One commentator described the business as an "institution" but added: "Unfortunately, being an institution doesn't protect you from financial woes".
Bed Bath & Beyond has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, following years of falling sales, financial losses and failed recovery efforts.

The homeware chain made the filing in the US District Court in New Jersey, saying it will start to wind down its operations while seeking a buyer for some or all of its businesses.

It anticipates closing all stores by the end of June, but meanwhile its 360 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 120 Buy Buy Baby stores and website will do business as usual.

The company employs 14,000 workers, according to the court filing, although this is down from the 32,000 employees it had in February 2022.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said: "It's the death of an icon - a lot of people have grown up with it.

"It's an institution in retailing but unfortunately being an institution doesn't protect you from financial woes."

Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971 and it became known for its huge range of sheets, towels and gadgets.

But in the last decade, it struggled - its messy assortments, lack of online strategy and stiff competition from Target and Walmart saw weak sales.

It recruited Target executive Mark Tritton in 2019 but his ideas - reducing coupons and introducing store label brands instead of national labels - failed to reverse the decline.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced most stores to close, many put their resources into online operations - but Bed Bath & Beyond did not manage this. It was also badly hit by supply chain issues, which affected its stocks of kitchen appliances and electronics.

In August, it announced a plan to close 150 of its stores and cut workforce by 20%, as well as saying it had lined up more than $500m of new financing - but even this was not enough to halt its downfall.

It issued a number of warnings about potential bankruptcy this year, including saying in January that it was in default of its loans.

A year ago its shares were trading at around $17 but on Monday they were around 30 cents.

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