Is Bed Bath & Beyond's New CEO the Start of a Turnaround?

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) shares jumped on Thursday after the firm announced that it would be adding a new chief executive officer to its roster. This has been a long time coming for this retailer, and judging by the investor reaction, it seems that Bed Bath & Beyond picked a winner. In fact, one analyst called this about two weeks ago.

The company announced that it has appointed Mark J. Tritton as president, CEO and a member of its board of directors, effective November 4. He will succeed interim CEO Mary Winston.

Tritton has over 30 years of experience in the retail industry, including most recently as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Target, where he was instrumental in transforming the omnichannel shopping experience. He has end-to-end retail industry experience in merchandising, design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution at some of the world’s leading iconic retailers and brands. In addition to Target, this includes Nordstrom, Timberland and Nike.

Patrick R. Gaston, Bed Bath & Beyond’s board chair, commented:

We are thrilled to announce a President and CEO with one of the most impressive resumes in the business. Mark’s ability to re-define the retail experience and drive growth at some of the world’s most successful retailers and brands makes him uniquely equipped to lead Bed Bath & Beyond during this critical time in our evolution. As an integral contributor to Target’s impressive transformation, we will benefit from his vision, leadership, and creativity to successfully transform our business.

At the end of September, Wedbush upgraded the domestics retailer to an Outperform rating from Neutral and raised its price target to $16 from $14, representing 62% upside potential. While turning around declining retailers is a very difficult task, particularly amidst unfavorable secular trends and soft industry sales growth, Wedbush sees a good chance of stabilization — if not growth — in earnings over the next two years as sweeping changes take hold. Wedbush said it expected Bed Bath & Beyond to name a well-regarded and highly experienced CEO to lead this transformation going forward.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were trading up about 24% to $12.32 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $7.31 to $19.57. The consensus price target is $12.92.