As it attempts to streamline its operation in preparation for a potential bankruptcy, Bed Bath & Beyond announced it will close an additional 87 stores, along with its entire Harmon chain and five BuyBuy Baby locations. The company has approximately 50 Harmon stores.
These closings are in addition to the 150 previously announced. The news comes after lender JP Morgan Chase sent Bed Bath & Beyond a default notice, and the retailer admitted in an SEC filing that it doesn’t have enough cash to pay its debts.
While Bed Bath & Beyond has been in talks to see off assets, sources close to the matter told Bloomberg that the company has been unable to secure a buyer and is pursuing a liquidation strategy as it proceeds toward a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has expressed interest in the BuyBuy Baby brand, but not the entire Bed Bath & Beyond business.
Landlords who own space currently occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond stores have started lining up potential new tenants should those locations be added to the closing list, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. One of the retailer’s largest landlords told The Wall Street Journal that is had already received commitments from future tenants should the 12 locations it manages close.
Shoppers at many of those stores that remain open have found empty shelves, as Bed Bath & Beyond’s inventory availability dipped below 50 percent in January. The company faced shipment halts and delays from vendors who said Bed Bath & Beyond hadn’t paid outstanding invoices. Those shipment disruptions led to diminished inventory during the holiday shopping season, which triggered another quarter of significant losses for the retailer.
That said, a man in East Memphis, Tennessee, found enough inventory on hand at his local store to steal $1,500 worth of comforters. The suspect, who stacked the blankets in a cart and walked out of the store without paying, has yet to be apprehended.