New York ( Business) — Bed Bath & Beyond is in deep crisis.
The housewares company is trying to bail out and stay out of bankruptcy, so it decided to make some financial changes to shore up the financial crisis and stay afloat. This includes layoffs, store closings, as well as outside financing.
Added to its economic problems is also the uncertainty over the death of its financial director, Gustavo Arnal, who died after jumping from a building last week.
We know this from the crisis that Bed Bath & Beyond is in.
The strategy to avoid bankruptcy
At the end of August, Bed Bath & Beyond was trying to stay afloat by taking advantage of a series of measures such as laying off approximately 20% of its corporate employees, as well as closing some 150 stores in the US and cutting several of its household item brands, the company itself reported at the time.
The company also said it secured more than $500 million in financing to shore up its financial troubles.
Berna Barshay, an independent retail analyst, said the company’s moves were “the prototype of the deckchair reorganization on the Titanic” and that the business was in structural decline.
The announcements, part of a “strategic update,” came just days after a key investor divested nearly all of its stake in the company and reports surfaced that some Bed Bath & Beyond suppliers stopped shipments due to unpaid invoices. .
Shares of the retailer fell 11% on Aug. 22 on reports that some of the company’s suppliers have stopped shipping products due to late payments for those goods.
The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the chain, with Bed Bath & Beyond losing money, sales plummeting and the company announcing in June that CEO Mark Tritton, who joined Target in 2019 to try to turn things around , was pushed out as the retailer’s struggles continue.
In mid-August, investor Ryan Cohen, founder of Chewy and chairman of GameStop, divested nearly all of his stake in the company shortly after news of his purchase sent its stock price soaring in a buying frenzy fueled by memes.
Cohen said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the company intended to sell up to 7.78 million shares of Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as more than 16,000 call options that gave RC Ventures the right to buy more shares. The sale represents the vast majority of Cohen’s stake in the company.
The steady pace of troubles at Bed Bath & Beyond has rattled investors with its shares down nearly 60% since Ryan’s planned sale was confirmed in mid-August 2022.
A high-profile death
In the midst of this deep crisis, the company suffered a severe blow in early September: the death of Gustavo Arnal, the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) since May 2020. He was also executive vice president of the business.
According to the New York Police Department, the man jumped from a high-rise apartment in Manhattan. He was found unconscious and unresponsive outside his luxurious 57-story skyscraper in the Tribeca neighborhood around 12:30 pm on Sept. 3, police said in a statement.
Police added that the man “appeared to suffer from injuries indicative of a fall from an elevated position.”
A law enforcement source told that the executive died after jumping from the balcony of his 18th-floor apartment. The source also said that Arnal’s wife saw him jump, adding that while no suicide note was found, no no crime is suspected.
In a statement Sunday, Bed Bath & Beyond’s independent chair of the board, Harriet Edelman, said: “I wish to extend our deepest condolences to Gustavo’s family.”
“We are focused on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time. Please join us in respecting the family’s privacy.”
The release said Arnal joined Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. in May 2020 following a career in finance at Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Procter & Gamble.
Edelman said Arnal was “instrumental in guiding the organization through the coronavirus pandemic, transforming the company’s financial foundation and building a strong and talented team. He was also a esteemed colleague in the financial community.”
A connection between the company’s financial statements and Arnal’s death has not been established.
How did Bed Bath & Beyond reach the crisis?
In recent years, shoppers have switched to other chains like Target, while the novelty of beloved Bed Bath & Beyond coupons has faded as consumers can easily find cheap prices on Amazon and elsewhere online.
For seven years, the value of the company’s shares has fallen sharply, reaching losses of up to 90%
Following Triton’s departure, the company then said it would reverse the strategy he proposed, which means national brands will stand out more than its own brands. Three of his brands will also take to the chopping block, including Studio 3B, Haven and Wild Sage.
But major brands may be reluctant to give Bed Bath & Beyond their best products, said Barshay, the independent retail analyst.
Bed Bath & Beyond is “financially up against the wall, so it will be more difficult to keep key suppliers in stock,” he said. “If you’re Dyson and Keurig and you’re trying to keep a halo around your brand, the last thing you want is discounts.”
— With reporting from ‘s Jordan Valinsky, Nathaniel Meyersohn and Parija Kavilanz.