Bed Bath and Bankruptcy: A Look into the Impending Doom of a Retail Giant

By: Yaffa Shekhter  |  May 9, 2023

By Yaffa Shekhter

I have early memories of Bed Bath and Beyond, a huge retail store right in my neighborhood. I remember getting something random on an errand with my mom like a new immersion blender for Pesach. I remember wandering aimlessly in that massive store watching the infomercials for an air fryer that somehow also becomes a grill. Bed Bath and Beyond was a staple for the American family, with its large selection of home goods at relatively low prices. Their famous big blue coupon, mimicking a postcard, on the back of catalogs and magazines made the brand iconic and recognizable to the average budget-conscious consumer.

Bed Bath and Beyond was founded in 1971 by Leonard Feinstein and Warren Eisenberg in New Jersey. Then called “Bed n’ Bath,” it was a store specializing in home and bath products. By the mid 80s, Bed Bath and Beyond expanded into its better-known superstore concept, creating a competitive advantage over traditional department stores, by selling a wide variety of products rather than just a few items. This business model aimed to bring more consumers into the store by offering something to suit everyone’s needs. The approach became a success, and the company built more superstores across the East Coast and California, reaching record sales in 1991. The company was made public in 1992 and reached 1 billion dollars in sales by the turn of the century. Since then, the company has made numerous acquisitions of businesses in the home goods industry.

As a result of the increase in e-commerce and other cross-category retailers, however, Bed Bath and Beyond now has to also compete with mega retailers like Target and Walmart. Although the company did see a boost in sales at the beginning of the pandemic due to the demand for home goods, the recent supply chain dysfunction has led to the start of the company’s downfall. Another aspect of the downfall was 

Every sizable corporation these days has had to do major layoffs, from tech companies like Microsoft and Twitter, to retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and Gap. Bed Bath and Beyond has been no different as they laid off 1,300 employees recently in New Jersey stores alone.

Bed Bath and Beyond (NYSE:BBBY) is what investors call a meme stock. The “hype” of a stock price going down caused the trading of over 1.8 million shares for short positions of BBBY in January. The impending bankruptcy of the company makes investors eager to short the stock for profit. As of April 19, the stock traded $0.46 which is at loss of almost 80% for 2023 YTD.

Is there anything left to do now? It is still difficult for the company to raise capital to cover operating costs. For this reason, Bed Bath and Beyond has the option of reorganizing their financial structure under Chapter 11. In the long run, it is doubtful that the company will remain in business.