Bed Bath & Beyond had been dead, until it wasn’t. The retailer owns a brand called Buybuy Baby. A company called Go Global Retail wants to buy it out of the bankrupt Bed Bath & Beyond. Go Global Retail, backed by private equity, owns Janie and Jack, another children’s clothing brand, according to The Wall Street Journal. One problem is that Bed Bath & Beyond and Buybuy Baby are amid liquidation sales, which begs the question of whether there is anything to sell. (These are America’s 25 dying industries.)
Buybuy Baby has performed better than Bed Bath & Beyond. However, both have fallen apart. The Wall Street Journal supposes that Buybuy Baby could become an online-only brand, a way to cut real estate and people costs.
Can brands that have died, or are barely on life support, be resurrected? It has been tried. One example is RadioShack, the once huge electronics retailer that moved online. There are rumors that video rental company Blockbuster could make a comeback. Online businesses, especially Netflix, ruined retail sales of movies for home video players over a decade ago.
Buybuy Baby likely will face the same fate as Bed Bath & Beyond because it has so much competition. That may be lost on any company that wants to bring back the brand. Baby clothing is sold by many retailers, from Amazon to Target. Glamour recently listed 22 retailers and baby clothing brands. That is a perfect example of crowded competition.
Brands can be vulnerable things. What takes decades to build can fall apart in years or much shorter periods. Take the example of Pontiac, one of the most well-known brands in the auto industry. When its financial performance faltered, GM killed it.
At least the brick-and-mortar part of the retail industry is dying quickly. While that is a widely held assumption, some investment banks believe it will accelerate and several thousand stores will close in the next several years. Any company that wants to bring back Buybuy Baby should take heed.
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