Retail

Bed Bath & Beyond Layoffs Are Coming

Battered by low sales and a dwindling amount of cash, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) reported another terrible quarter. Revenue dropped by 33% to $1.3 billion, and it lost $393 million. The company ended the quarter with $154 million in cash. Management said it was looking at “strategic alternatives.” The press has described this as a probable road to bankruptcy. Layoffs are almost certainly in its future. (Check out which American tech companies laid off the most workers last year.)

Management did mention some old news. Its suppliers have worried about being paid. Some have withheld inventory because of worries about this issue. The Wall Street Journal reported that foot traffic to its stores dropped 26.5% in December, compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Bed Bath & Beyond has become a speculative stock for intrepid traders. In theory, it should be on its way to zero as debt holders crush the value of the common shares. After an appropriate plunge to $1.31 last Friday, it has seesawed its way to above $2.50. As is always the case in situations like this, someone will be burned. That happened not long ago with the stock movement of AMC Entertainment and GameStop.


What happened to Bed Bath & Beyond? It is not unlike what happened to Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney and Borders. Amazon harmed them all as it became the second largest retailer in America, trailing only Walmart. And Walmart, Target, Costco and other large retailers who offer products similar to those of Bed Bath & Beyond also crushed it. Bed Bath & Beyond is not the only chain that has suffered this fate, and it will not be the last one.

The retailers that have been shuttered because they have been too small or their inventory too narrow have caused the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. In 2018, Bed Bath & Beyond had 65,000 employees. Recently, that dropped to 32,000, and it will drop much further.

Investors continue combing the results of other medium-sized retailers to find another Bed Bath & Beyond situation. Its cuts of tens of thousands of workers will be repeated elsewhere.

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