Bed Bath & Beyond laid off about 150 of its 65,000 employees last week, CNBC reported. Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told CNBC that a little less than 50 workers, largely in the field-support team, which helps staff stores at namesake Bed Bath & Beyond stores, lost their jobs. In addition, fewer than 100 department and store managers were also reportedly let go from the company's Christmas Tree Shops. These stores sell discounted home decor, furniture, food and Christmas decorations. Bed Bath & Beyond acquired the discount home goods and decor chain in 2003. A spokesperson told CNBC that Bed Bath & Beyond was "able to reassign many of those impacted by this realignment to other available store and corporate roles, but ultimately we had to reduce our headcount. This decision was a difficult but necessary step, and we are committed to treating all associates across the organization fairly and with respect.”
The layoffs came days after investors, Legion Partners Asset Management, Macellum Advisors GP and Ancora Advisors, confirmed their stake in Bed Bath & Beyond and demanded a full turnover in the company’s board. The investors were critical of Bed Bath & Beyond for being slow to focus on its e-commerce business and allowing costs to increase in recent years. The layoffs at Bed Bath & Beyond were planned before the investors’ letter and are part of its ongoing turnaround, the person told CNBC.
Total Retail's Take: It's not surprising that Bed Bath & Beyond is starting to take action to return to profitability after seven consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. What's more, as mentioned above, the company has been criticized for failing to adapt to the changing omnichannel retail environment. Bed Bath & Beyond's stores, known to be crammed with inventory, have been heavily criticized by analysts as "messy." In a memo to employees obtained by CNBC, Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares highlighted the company’s planned and completed initiatives designed to usher in a turnaround. They include re-platforming the websites, focusing on data-driven personalized marketing, improved merchandise, and a more efficient operating structure in its buying group.