Retail

Buybuy Baby Makes Comeback

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The list of failed brick-and-mortar retailers is long. E-commerce and poor management killed most of them. Sears and J.C. Penney are among the few that nearly closed but have kept a few stores open.

Bed Bath & Beyond was dragged under by years of same-store sales difficulty, a poor turnaround plan and, eventually, a cash shortage. However, one division, Buybuy Baby, had merchandise that remained attractive. It has emerged from Bed Bath & Beyond’s Chapter 11 filing and is in business again.

A New Jersey company called Dream on Me bought some of the Bed Bath & Beyond assets. A report in The Wall Street Journal indicates that the baby products retailer plans to open more than 100 new U.S. stores over the next three years.

The plan to reopen is a Hail Mary. The competition for the sale of items for babies is crowded. Every big-box retailer is in the business in stores and online. Walmart, the nation’s largest store-based retailer, and Target are both active in baby merchandise sales. More dangerous for Buybuy Baby is Amazon, which has dominated e-commerce in America for two decades. (See 10 things never to buy from Amazon.)

As huge retailers like Walmart grow bigger by the year, questions arise about whether national, niche stores can thrive and grow. A footprint of 100 stores is fair too small to be close to much of the U.S. population. When retailers are hard to visit, the idea of a rebirth is far-fetched.

Buybuy Baby may be back but probably won’t be back for long.

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